RetailEXPO, the trade show for retail technology, design and digital signage, took place in London last week.
The event focused on the future of retail, using the tagline; ‘Retail’s future belongs to those with the power to move with customers’. With key retail clients including The Marlowes, Kingfisher Shopping Centre and The Centre, Feltham, we’re constantly sharing case studies about the future of retail with the rest of The Pride here at Big Cat.
There has been talk of the ‘death of the high street’ recently and that the retail sector, as we know it, is doomed. Whilst this may seem pretty negative, the key point is that the high street ‘as we know it’ is struggling. We are now seeing many ways in which various companies are using technology and immersive experiences to turn their stores into more of a destination place in order to entice a wider audience base. The high street is not ‘dead’; it’s just undergoing positive change.
The rise of artificial intelligence has the potential to completely transform the retail experience with personalisation, automation and increased efficiency. In this blog post we’ve gathered a few examples of companies that are already implementing technology and experiences to make high street shopping more convenient for the busy consumer. Keep an eye out for more examples along the lines of those we’ve highlighted below, as we’re sure other companies will soon start to follow suit.
Amazon Eliminates Cashiers with AI
As a brand, Amazon is very well known for being fast, efficient and convenient. These brand characteristics are sustained through Amazon’s new cashless stores call ‘Amazon Go’ that have begun opening in the USA. The stores allow you to walk in, take what you want and walk out again, without the hassle of check-out lines and cashiers. The AI technology picks up what the consumer wants to purchase and how much to charge to their Amazon account.
The American retail company Lowes has created the Lowebot, which is an in-store robot to help customers find their way around the store and items they need. These robots roam the store and ask the customer simple questions to find what they are looking for and provide them with directions, maps and answers with specialty knowledge.
Hunter’s Outdoor Immersion Experience
Online sales have soared over the past few years due to the convenience of being able to shop online from the comfort of their own home. Whilst high street stores can’t really compete with this level of convenience, they can instead play on making shopping a real experience for consumers.
For example, Hunter set up a greenhouse in New York’s Grand Central Terminal where visitors were able to wear Hunter’s rainwear in a greenhouse that had ‘rain’ falling in it and carpeted with real damp moss. Hunter said this resulted in an 85% sales lift in its core product offering, which highlights the value of creating an interactive experience and where high street stores can differentiate themselves from those online.
Sephora Makeup Technology
Sephora stores have found a new way in which customers can find their perfect shade match without having to try on any makeup. Employers are equipped with hand-held devices that they hold close to the customer’s face to scan the surface of their skin and capture the consumer’s exact skin tone so they can match it with a combination of numbers and letters from an existing ‘shade library’. This ensures a convenient and efficient in-store shopping experience and as we know; convenience is key.
Augmented Reality Lego Store
Lego created a new in-store experience for consumers by teaming up with Snapchat to sell a limited edition adult clothing range. Customers visited a pop-up store in London that seemed empty apart from a large plinth with a snap code covering it, which they could scan on their personal Snapchat to apply a filter. As customers moved their phone around the space, they could see the inside of an augmented reality store. The technology enabled customers to buy products they ‘saw’ there and then through their mobile phones.