M&S launches digital lab and seeks to drive international

Date : 07 February 2013
M&S has created a dedicated team to experiment with new technology, according to reports in Retail Week. It also intends to open Simply Food stores in France.

Digital lab to introduce 'start up' mentality

According to the report, the digital lab will be central in driving M&S' multi-channel ambitions, with a start-up, agile mentality helping the retailer to evaluate and develop cutting edge technologies. Laura Wade-Gery, executive director for e-commerce, is quoted as saying the retailer wants to combine tech-savviness with customer insight: "the whole idea is to test some quite experimental stuff - I wouldn't want to rule anything out".

All about test and learn

Much of the ethos behind the lab is grounded in a 'test and learn' mindset. The team of six includes Kyle McGinn who will head up the unit and played a key role in the design of the BBC iPlayer and was previously chief technology officer at social commerce specialist Reevoo.com. The more agile mindset is aimed at speeding up the testing and deployment of new initiatives.

International plans for Simply Food also revealed

In a separate development, the French trade press is reporting that the retailer intends to open Simply Food supermarkets in France. Entry is likely to be through a franchised model, with other western European markets also under review for expansion. The group's second department store in France, So Ouest, which we visited last year is running 26% ahead of budget and will be profitable within two years.

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