Over the last 50 years our shopping experience has changed dramatically. Retailers are under a constant threat from the online shopping revolution: selling wider ranges of products and doing it cheaper to boot. One-day delivery plans and easy returns policies are ensuring that online shopping is as effortless as possible, which is putting pressure on physical shops to innovate in order to keep up the foot flow into their stores.
The only way for retail to fight back is to go digital and incorporate the technology of online shopping into the physical shopping and brand experience. Although the last ten years has seen a huge boost in online retail, there are changes in the retail industry that could reverse the trend and return shops to the top of the food chain. Enjoy the Future of Retail:
A new retail app by platform developers Thirdshelf now allows for stores to be fully interactive with your smartphone device. Now when you walk into a shoe shop, you can now know more than just the size and colour of any given shoe. The app works in conjunction with ‘iBeacons’ which are situated around the store and beam signals that recognise when an iPhone or iPad carrying the app is near and uses the information of that customer to make suggestions, display and message promotions and any other information that might be relevant to that person. You can also use the scan app to scan a product ticket to give you even more information about what you want to buy.
The app is currently in the prototype phase and is being tested in a concept store for vintage luxury retailer LXR & co., but we can soon see a smoother and more personalised retail experience than ever before.
Kinect Fitting Rooms
Microsoft’s astonishing Kinect system is now being used by an online company in order to create an in-store fitting room concept that allows customers “try” clothes on without removing their own clothing. The software is uploaded to a built-in stand and uses the Kinect camera to overlay items in the store onto the customer’s image. Trialled to great success in Topshop’s Moscow store, the Kinect changing room has been hailed as a fun and interactive success. Obviously these kinds of stands wouldn’t be cheap to start with but with introduction into more retailers, it could allow for a better shopping experience and encourage more people to “try” before they buy, without the hassle. Would you prefer to try clothes on virtually instead of physically?
Coming straight from a science fiction movie (The Mirror has made comparisons to Minority Report), Lord Sugar‘s company AMscreen has created a system which could cause a real stir. The OptimEyes system has been integrated into 450 Tesco petrol stations. The technology effectively scans a person’s eyeballs as they enter a store and detects whether they are male or female and estimates their age. It detects how long that person looks at an ad and collects that as marketing data. This technology means advertisers will be able to target people at certain times of the day with particular ads. In the near future this could lead to personalised ads for the individual, however, this has caused concerns from privacy advocates.
Pop Up Shops
Retail has become predictable in recent years, but the new trend of pop-up shops has stirred things up, and introduced an element of the unexpected into the way we shop, with high concept stores with little product. Here are some great examples of how pop up stores are changing the way people are seeing brands and are becoming more experimental. Pop up stores are where retail design can become more experimental and try out new ideas, and shops can take all sorts of unexpected turns with a temporary selling space. Some of the biggest brands in the world are using pop up retail as a way to create something a bit more playful and increase brand awareness in public areas.
About the Author
Charlie is a writer and a tech nut who is fascinated by gadgets and where technology can take us in the next few years / decades!
YouTube: AMscreen revolutionises ad industry with face tracking technology