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  • 6 Jun

Retail Innovation Technology

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Alex IevinsBased on recent projects with our retail clients and the things they are considering implementing, I wanted to highlight future retail innovations. Retail technology developments currently taking place are all about personalisation; tailoring the experience to the customer, and providing the ability to buy everything everywhere. People want the ability to buy what they want, by whichever means they prefer.

Already in certain stores, and potentially making real changes to the way we try on clothes, is the use of augmented reality and the ‘magic mirror’. Shoppers are able to try on clothing without actually getting changed. The concept works with Kinect technology, based on arm movements for the selection of items, and overlaying images onto the customer, to get an idea of look. The difficulty of course is correct sizing, feel and colouring of the material. You can take a look here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avr79fPvfZ8. It’s suggested that this technology is particularly useful to older shoppers as it removes the hassle of getting changed. However, you have to question whether they will be comfortable using the technology.

Whilst the ‘magic mirror’ is available in store there are also a number of online virtual fitting rooms, which offer the same service in the comfort of your own home.  You are able to create a life sized model version of yourself on the website, complete with your own face (although uploading my own face to the software did seem to break it, no offence taken!) The clothes then fit based on your measurements so you know which size to buy. You can view the software here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=06PHmm-AfE0.

The ways in which retailers are able to profile their customers is also changing with the growing developments in CCTV. Retailers are now able to go far beyond football counting and into assessments of gender, confidence rating, store tracking (to discover where the hot retail space of the store is, and effect of product placement), and monitoring of sales assistance to minimise shrinkage. The combination of facial recognition technology could even go as far as notifying key members of staff when a high profile or valuable customer walked into the store. To understand these technologies further: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ih6BijsSKW4.

In store digital signage is very much here, and our client Oasis is already utilising the likes of iPad Point of Sale. Not only is this used for transactions, but also as a visual display unit for advertising other features available to the customer such as 90 minute delivery, to really combine the whole omni-channel approach to retail. With mobile PoS, iPad PoS, and Google Wallet already in use, the way we pay is radically changing.

Retailers are also beginning to use lighting technologies available to them to create buzz around the opening of stores, or the launch of products. The recent 4D show by Ralph Lauren to showcase their new line drew plenty of attention to the retailer’s launch campaign. If you haven’t seen this already it’s definitely worth a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIvcsQ8v1bk&feature=player_embedded.

With many changes based on the growing technical capabilities, and demands of the customer, things are set to change further, and at great pace.  Do you see your retail outlet using these types of technologies? Or do you think some of these technologies will not achieve the uptake that is anticipated? Please post your comments below or email info@retail-assist.co.uk.

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