If the past year is indicative of change to come, we’re balanced on the cusp of cutting-edge technologies becoming a must-have, rather than a nice-to-have, for retailers keen to remain ahead of the curve
Retail Week shares three trends making waves that will be explored at the Innovation Summit on November 8.
From virtual try-on tools and metaverse make-up labs to frictionless checkouts and driverless deliveries, it’s been impossible to miss the impact of tech-driven innovation over the past year.
Yet with retailers navigating balancing their bottom line, knowing where and what technologies to invest in to generate the greatest returns is a challenge.
Here are three areas that EE, Lush and Estée Lauder are prioritising to maintain growth in the short and long term.
Immersive in-store experiences
While ecommerce is synonymous with integrated tech experiences, bricks-and-mortar stores certainly aren’t being left behind when it comes to innovation.
From loyalty apps and tech-driven product personalisation to new recycling and repair hubs, retailers have been levelling up their in-store experiences in a bid to increase dwell time, boost basket size and promote brand loyalty.
Mobile phone retailer EE launched a new store format with its “future face of retail” flagship Studio store in Westfield London, White City, in June of this year.
While customers shopping for mobile phones typically only visit a store when they’re in need of an upgrade or something’s broken, the retailer’s new strategy aims to change that behaviour by putting innovation, personal experiences and communities front and centre.
The first of EE’s new stores features “experience zones” including a dedicated gaming area, where shoppers can play with the latest consoles, test out racing simulators and try virtual-reality headsets, a “taste of the future” smart home zone, and a “digital spa” – a tech-driven sensory space helping customers detox from their screens.
Following the launch, the retailer has opened three additional experience-focused stores in Cardiff, Kent and Manchester over July, August and September, with plans to roll out the “best aspects” of these stores across its wider store portfolio.