Plugging into the buzz of the start-up tech scene to boost their brand power, British fashion retailers Topshop and Asos have both announced the launch of in-house tech accelerators, straddling both product and engagement strategies.
Topshop has initiated an innovation programme focused on developing consumer-facing wearable tech, supported by UK corporate innovation specialist L Marks. Top Pitch is making an active call-out to entrepreneurs keen to co-develop affordable wearable tech (clothing and accessories) that could be rolled out in the brand's stores.
Chosen teams will convene in a four-week 'boot camp' mentored by experts including Maddy Evans, Topshop's managing director; Bethany Koby, chief executive of UK DIY tech start-up Technology Will Save Us; and British fashion, business and technology journalist Rachel Arthur. The project culminates with a presentation to Topshop's billionaire owner Sir Phillip Green, and the promise of serious investment.
Meanwhile, Asos has teamed up with Spanish telecoms firm Telefónica's accelerator division, Wayra – a London-based incubator offering funding, workspace and mentoring – to improve its e-commerce experience.
Its eight-month programme, which is also calling for inspired technologists, focuses on the e-commerce experience itself – specifically, making the shopping journey easier and speedier. Faster site navigation, more personalised searches (look out for Personalising E-Tail, publishing May 19), the development of shoppable content solutions and delivery-based innovations have all been mooted as key areas of expansion.