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Merlin Cloud launch their retail-based MVP

Luke Brown and Joe Methven, the two co-founders of Merlin Cloud, have embarked on a mission to digitalise retail stores, bringing them into the modern age with innovative technology. Their journey began in October 2023 with the aim of seamlessly integrating physical and digital marketing campaigns, providing real-time metrics to enhance customer engagement and operational efficiency.

Having already run a successful web development consultancy, &Element, for the past nine years, Luke and his team, based at the Innovation Centre on the University of Essex campus, now hope to scale the Merlin Cloud SaaS dashboard. Central to their success has been the invaluable business support from Kathryn White, the innovation director at ICKG, who is helping them navigate the challenges of a start-up and offering advice on business planning, value proposition, and route to market.

Launch of the MVP platform

The culmination of rigorous design, planning, development, AI integration, DevOps, 3D printing, and product prototyping over the last few months has led to the launch of Merlin Cloud’s first-generation footfall and trend-tracking product. 

This plug-and-play device is designed for easy onboarding, enabling business owners to quickly access crucial footfall metrics for their stores and high-performance areas like till queues or building entrances.

Looking ahead, Luke and Joe plan to enhance this technology further. The roadmap includes adding heatmap functionality and security monitoring, which will transform these cameras into a comprehensive solution when combined with interactive kiosks and POS systems. 

This holistic approach aims to provide a fully connected retail experience, helping stores optimise their operations and engage customers more effectively.

Partnership with Mission Cafe

Installing cameras in the cafe

A key milestone in Merlin Cloud’s journey is its partnership with Mission Cafe at ICKG. The three-month collaboration with Omar and Abdul at Mission Cafe is designed to refine Merlin Cloud’s footfall-tracking technology. 

This partnership is not just about testing a product; it is about understanding a cafe’s specific needs and how a retail-tech partner can best support those needs. By installing their footfall tracking system at Mission Cafe, Merlin Cloud aims to gather critical feedback, ensuring their dashboard and product offerings are precisely tailored to market demands.

What’s next?

Luke and Joe are excited about the future and continue to grow the team at the Innovation Centre. They have three more product launches this year with the aim of building out the full suite of tools for any business owner with on-site customers to benefit from.

Stay up to date on their journey on their LinkedIn.

Find out more about our office space solutions, or contact us at info@innovationcentre-kg.co.uk  or 01206 405 50.

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