Imagine walking into a supermarket, doing your shopping and driving home - without waiting in line at the register. What might sound like science fiction has recently become reality, with pilot projects such as BingoBox by WeChat in China and Amazon Go in the USA. With an intelligent system that recognizes the selected products, lists them in an app and bills automatically, the commercial giants set entirely new standards. Wheelys, the test concept of a mobile supermarket without staff in China, could also change the retail trade significantly. But these are just a few of the many innovations that were presented this year at EuroShop, the world's largest retail trade fair. And they won't just be encountered by the shopper of the future at a showcase gourmet supermarket in the big city, but even in a mom-and-pop store.
Even before the buyer leaves the house, he is already spoiled for choice between various smart apps. These not only help the customer to create a shopping list, but also recommend the nearest supermarket. Once the shopper has arrived there, the app provides our eager customer with the fastest route to the selected Sicilian pasta in aisle 7 and also recommends a Tuscan basil sauce as the perfect accompaniment.
Manipulation with fragrances
Once the shopper has managed to decide on an app and found his way to a desired product, the aroma of freshly baked goods already seduces him into an additional purchase. Here a wide array of fragrances helps the retailer entice his customers. The range offered by Voitair includes everything, from the aroma of freshly baked rolls to juicy pineapple and high-quality leather.
If the customer resists, the next temptation is waiting already: The supermarket manager is using specially developed lighting to ensure that apples appear greener, lemons yellower and meat redder, without the shopper noticing that he is literally being taken in by a trick of the light.
Interactive price tags
Price tags are undergoing a revolution. Whilst they were rather monotonous in the past and only likely to make shoppers squint in alarm at the sight of the price, customers are now about to be amazed: The Viennese start-up Gleebees for example has developed a price tag that also displays images, additional information or even videos at the customer's request. Intelligent profiles play a decisive role
here: Polymer specialist REHAU has combined smart profiles that have a data and power connection with the price tags. The result, called SmartShelf, allows the shelf to communicate directly with the customer. If the customer for example reaches for a bottle of perfume, he is provided with information on ingredients, accompanying shower gels or can compare the selected product with another.
Static mirrors are a thing of the past: The changing room of the future is equipped with a so-called Smart Mirror, an intelligent mirror which selects the right dress size from the warehouse at the push of a button and sends it to the customer's home on request. The glazed surface can do even more: The retailer can use it for advertising videos or convert it to a touch-screen. This allows customers for example to find the matching blouse for a selected pair of trousers. For instance, the system by Bütema AG notifies the seller, who brings the desired top to the changing room just a few seconds later.
Even a boring shop interior is a thing of the past. With the innovation by 3aArt, pictures can be exchanged in seconds thanks to an integrated hook and loop fastener. The retailer is able to reinvent his shop, leading the customer into new worlds every time. This also applies to the mannequins by Genesis Mannequins: One simple movement allows you to swap eyelashes, hair and lips. Mannequins not only change visually, in future they will be displayed in motion: jogging or strolling, for example.
Augmented reality takes an increasingly important role. Any colors and patterns the customer selects through an iPad can already be projected onto a white sneaker. The range offered by Cognityk also already includes electronic tours of the shop after closing, viewing products that are no longer available or trying out suitable accessories digitally.
Many of the innovations mentioned are already being trialed in numerous shops and boutiques. It will take some time until they are available in every store. But even now it is clear: The shopping experience of the future will be exciting!