Lidewij Edelkoort has forecast that brands will need to rethink retail in 2012 if they want to recover from what has become the worst economic downturn in living memory. Outdated formulas and old-fashioned formats will be replaced by anticipated service, innovative store experiences and edited online retailing: “Shopping will need to become a trip within our inner selves to satisfy our complex needs and wishes and therefore needs to be addressed in a truly innovative manner, to reach the consumer on another, more private level. Imagination, improvisation, intelligence and humour are needed to redefine the shopping experiences of tomorrow”.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) sought to do precisely that at its Annual Convention & Expo in New York (January 15-18, 2012): to engage and involve the consumer to redefine retail’s new rules. Logistics and technology companies offered smarter ideas at their stands, while Bill Clinton brought an inspired perspective as keynote speaker. Emmanuelle Linard and Philip Fimmano visited the fair and saw how new advancements will soon allow shoppers to use their hands to become free and fluid.
Cisco’s new StyleMe interface is ready for the market, soon to be trailed at John Lewis’ department stores in the UK. This virtual dressing room allows customers (or “guests” as they are now called) to try on many different garments within a short amount of time.Through movement recognition technology, hand gestures in space allow guests to browse for items themselves or receive suggestions to combine, colour and customise their look.
Guests can then share photos with their friends, search stock in other stores and of course, try the garments on in real life.
Datalogic is a company that develops Point Of Sale tools such as scanners, computers and payment processors, before reselling these products through technology partners such as IBM. Its new and innovative supermarket belt (a concept still currently being finalised) will offer customers who accept self-service a speedier check-out experience.
Leaving the barcode behind, products will be image-recognized by the scanner at a very rapid pace, entirely paid for by the time the customer has finished packing. Though impersonal, this fun-to-use tool will turn the check-out into one fluid movement.