Touring “the store of the future”

    Last week, we had the chance to tour the Retail Collective, a prototype of what a physical store might look like someday, using interactive technology to draw customers in and to give them a unique experience differing from online shopping.

    Branded as “the store of the future,” the technologies in the Retail Collective were chosen by Doug Stephens, founder of Retail Prophet Inc. He  provided running commentary throughout the tour as to why these technologies will shape how retailers market and sell their products to consumers.

    The Retail Collective was featured at Dx3, a digital marketing conference held in downtown Toronto.

    Here’s a quick list of the companies Stephens chose to showcase, in order of appearance:

    • Retail Next – using video analytics to measure how shoppers behave in a store;
    • Hointer – using near-field communication technology to improve customer service for consumers, allowing them to scan tags for items of clothing they want to try on and to buy;
    • Perch – using projection technology to making surfaces interactive – for example, if a customer picks up a shoe, the table might show information about that item;
    • Nomi – picking up customers’ Wi-Fi signals from their smartphones to track their movement through a store;
    • iQmetrix – using touchscreens to allow customers to get more information on the products on a shelf

    “The idea now is that the physical world of retail and the online world are now merging, and consumers are now accustomed to this vast sea of selection and choice that they now have online, and they’re not seeing that in physical brick and mortar stores,” Stephens said, adding retailers are now trying to come up with ways to compete with e-commerce giants like Amazon.

    “We’re making the whole store interactive so consumers can buy from it, 24/7.”