64. Stored

In a phygital world, Stored wants to make it easier than ever for shoppers to buy from the brands that have caught their eye.

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Founders: Lee Hart and Danny Howe
Year founded: 2022
Website: joinstored.com

You’ve put the perfect product in front of a would-be buyer. Everything about it hits the spot – the fit, the style, the statement it will help them make. You just have no way of taking their money for it.

That’s the pain point Stored is here to solve, whether it happens online or in person. Founded in 2022 by Lee Hart and Danny Howe, Stored is reshaping the gap between consumer touchpoints and the checkout process. 

You’re going to hear the word “omnichannel” more and more this year. It’s the catch-all phrase to say, “hey, sometimes a customer will find you through a social feed, or right there in person.” Hart and Howe believe that wherever the customer contact should happen, the transaction should be frictionless. 

In a world where consumers have diverse channels to discover products, traditional payment methods have at times struggled to keep up with evolving consumer behaviour. 

Stored provides a silky smooth, two-touch payment system for customers. It gives them the same kind of ‘add to basket’ or ‘buy now’ effortlessness that Amazon’s mega-retail has been built on. 

It also turns creators into merchants, without them having to do the hard business of figuring out how to set up a complex commerce funnel. Stored lets merchants rapidly deploy digital mobile payment experiences that connect the point of discovery with the point of purchase, and connect physical environments with digital assets.

Stored’s platform helps sellers in particular because it all takes place through the shopper’s phone, rather than on a retailer’s tablet or till-style point of sale (POS) system. The neatest thing about Stored is that it effectively puts a POS at every consumer's fingertips, transforming mobile phones into a tool for instant access to product information, reviews, relevant social content and checkout.

Ecommerce has made huge strides in convenience and security, and physical transactions are now almost instant.

As an in-person shopper, you can browse an item at a pop-up event, and add it straight to your basket through your phone. Perhaps you want to finish the transaction at home, later on; or buy it on the spot. Stored lets you do either, and keeps things seamless for shoppers by integrating with common payment platforms such as Apple Pay. There’s no friction point where a customer has to set up their card details or create a specific log in for the retailer – and that means faster, happier sales.

The platform also supports retail and hospitality sectors by enabling event and ticketing sales. Stored cofounder Hart has a whole new buzzword to capture the omnichannel commerce potential of the platform. “In five years time, Stored will be the go-to platform for the delivery of phygital experiences,” he tells us.

‘Phygital’ captures that modern duality of how so many consumers crave an effortless digital-style experience of buying and paying for something, yet also need in-person touchpoints to build an affinity with a brand. Stored’s mindset is that sellers need to think phygital-first, and ensure their customers hit no barrier, wherever they need to pay.

The founding team of Hart and Howe have spent a combined 20 years working for leading payments processing businesses. They’re no strangers to the kind of brands Stored is entering into a competitive market alongside. 

“During that time, we've seen unprecedented levels of innovation in the space,” Hart explains. “Ecommerce has made huge strides in convenience and security, and physical transactions are now almost instant thanks to contactless, mobile payments and the latest POS.”

However despite all of that progress, Hart argues that the payments market still hasn’t kept up with changes to consumer behaviour. “There are a myriad of ways with which a consumer can interact with and find a product. Yet, there are still only two ways to take a potential customer from consideration to purchase; either get them to a POS at the front of a physical store, or drive them through a standard ecommerce journey. Both of which are optimised for browsing rather than conversion.”

Solving such issues is no overnight task, but Hart and Howe are building a top team and have already secured £800,000 of investment across an angel round and an ASA. The founders leant into their extensive network of experts within the payment space, finding plenty who believed in their vision enough to back it financially.

The team has the expertise, the experience and the vision to shake up a market that’s already not short on innovation. If the Stored platform can keep things effortless for shoppers and merchants, be they online or in person, then we can all look forward to getting phygital in the future.

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