The InstallMarket session ‘Forces that Drive Retail Tech’ saw three leading retail integrators talk about the challenges that they are addressing and present some of the solutions that they have installed.
Steve Blyth, managing director of Engage Production, talked about the evolution of the GUI to the NUI – a natural user interface that retail customers can use intuitively. “The goal of NUI is to create seamless interaction,” he said.
The benchmark for embracing retail technology – with its magic mirrors, RFID and digital signage - remains the Burberry flagship store in London, he said, but other brands such as John Lewis with its JLAB concept are also revolutionising the customer experience.
Blyth also showed a video of the InstallAward-winning Virtual Style Pod, which allows shoppers to try on clothing virtually.
“Dumb displays are a thing of the past,” said Adam Wilson, commercial director of Intevi. “ A simple screen stuck on the wall with a DVD player is not good enough any more.”
The role of technology, he argued, is to add to the customer journey, rather than taking anything away from it by being distracting. It’s also important that the technology is not too obtrusive: “We don’t want someone to have to go in front of a screen, stand on one leg and put their hand in the air – we’re still quite typically British,” he said. Technology should help people interact with brands on a higher level and help to guide purchasing decisions.
“Every asset has to earn money,” said Paul O’Reilly, managing director of Vivid. He was speaking on the morning that Gap’s new ‘Dress Normal’ campaign had launched, across screens in the company’s stores in London (Oxford Street), Paris and Milan – with the installations co-ordinated by Vivid. He had received the RFP (request for proposal) for the campaign just three weeks earlier. “A lot of the brand partners want you to able to work certainly on a European scale, sometimes internationally,” he observed.
This point was picked up the session moderator, Nick Gale of Realisation, in his closing remarks. He commented: “We are all generally quite small businesses, particularly when you compare us to our clients. It’s not unusual to find yourself working for a billion–pound company when you’re possibly sub-10 million… That differential scale creates problems. I’m wondering if one of the barriers to this industry moving forward is the end users see us as a collection of cottage industries that they’ve got to hold together in order to get the total solutions that they’re looking for.”
Watch our video interview with session moderator Nick Gale here:
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Organised by Installation, InstallMarket took place at the Business Design Centre, London, on 4 September.