Retail Innovations

(Author : Deena M. Amato McCoy)
Lowe’s is making it even easier for in-store shoppers to locate home improvement necessities.

Home improvement retailer launches AR in-store navigation app

By tapping the power of augmented reality, the home improvement retailer introduced its Lowe’s Vision: In-Store Navigation app. Called the first retail application of indoor mapping using augmented reality, the app is designed to simplify the home improvement shopping experience.

The solution, which is the newest creation developed in Lowe’s Innovation Labs, leverages Google’s augmented reality technology Tango, allowing shoppers with Tango-enabled smartphones to search for products, add them to a shopping list and locate the product within the store.

Specifically, the navigation tool uses Tango-enabled motion tracking, area learning and depth perception to guide customers through the store using a mixed reality interface. When a customer enters a Lowe’s store, they can use their Tango-enabled smartphone to create a list of their required items in the app and access product reviews and information to make an informed decision. Directional prompts overlaid onto the real-world setting guide the customer to each item using the most efficient route around the store, the retailer explained.

Our research shows that helping make it easier for customers to find products in stores not only makes for a better shopping experience, it allows our associates to spend more time advising on home improvement projects,” said Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs. “With Lowe’s Vision: In-Store Navigation, we’ve created a more seamless experience using breakthrough technology so customers can save time shopping and focus more on their project.”

The technology will be launched in Sunnyvale, California and Lynwood, Washington stores in April.
This is Lowe’s second app based on Tango. Lowe’s first Tango app, Lowe’s Vision, uses spatial perception to help customers embark on a home improvement project. The technology enables the user to measure spaces and visualize how products like appliances and home décor will look in their home.

Source : chainstoreage.com

(Author : Weronika Jurkiewicz)
The garment goes from design to shelf in four hours thanks to interactive technology and custom-made robots.

Adidas In-Store Machine Knits A Custom Sweater

Making clothes that people want to buy and cutting the time it takes for new designs to hit the stores are the two major challenges for any fast fashion manufacturer.

With its new pop-up, adidas might have just solve them both. Opened in Berlin, the ‘Knit for Youconcept store lets shoppers design a sweater and get it knitted by the state-of-the-art machines within four hours, not only reducing the trend-guessing from the design process, but also substantially cutting the typical manufacturing time of 12 to 18 months.

The tech-infused shopping experience is innovative in its own right and brings to mind an interactive video game. First shoppers enter a darkened room where different designs are projected onto them with an option to switch between pattern using hand gestures. After choosing the final version, customers move to a computer where they pick the color combination. To ensure the perfect fit, the shoppers can get a laser body scan. The custom-designed merino wool sweater cost 200 euros.

Adidas has been exploring localized production and customization in efforts to sell more products at full price and to bring its operating profit margins closet to its biggest rival, Nike, by 2020. Supported by the German government, the Knit for You pop-up will be used by adidas to evaluate the profitability of the concept, before potentially introducing it in other locations.

Source : www.psfk.com

(Author : Laura McQuarrie)
Self-checkout stations can be found across many grocery stores, and some forward-thinking fashion retailers are also adopting this system, provided that they have come up with a solution to deal with the issue of loss prevention.

Imperial Cars Introduced the First-Ever Automotive Self-Checkout

Considering that consumers leaving a store with large-ticket items is a concern, the idea of a self-service checkout for cars seems unheard of, but Imperial Cars recently implemented one in its showroom.

After shopping around for a new car and filling out any necessary legal paperwork, those who want to use ‘The Fast Lane’ may drive straight up to the kiosk. At this station, they are able to touch the screen of a tablet to enter their personal details and have the system verify that they car they are driving away with is indeed their new purchase.

Source : trendhunter.com

(Author : Ryan Lawler)
Wheelys, a startup that got its start selling an all-in-one cafe on a bike, is pushing forward with another crazy local commerce idea. The company is opening up an unmanned retail store in Shanghai that will allow customers to buy chocolates, cigarettes or potato chips at any time, day or night.

Wheelys is launching an unmanned convenience store in Shanghai

“We’ve been thinking about how to make shopping more innovative, effective and cheaper for people to start a cafe or retail in general,” Wheelys cofounder and CEO Maria De La Croix told me.

With that in mind, the company’s new project builds upon the work Wheelys had done for its coffee bikes in enabling mobile purchases, while also leveraging inventory management software it built for its mobile cafe owners. The company makes money for its Wheelys Cafés not just through the sale of the hardware, but by making sure its coffee bike entrepreneurs are well stocked with goods for sale. Since Wheelys keeps tabs on all items sold through its mobile app, it knows when to resupply owners of its bike cafes. That same technology will be used to track sales of unmanned retail locations.

Dubbed Wheelys 247, the new store is connected to a mobile app that customers will use to scan and purchase items. To deter theft, the store will require the mobile app to enter, and is outfitted with video cameras to watch patrons inside. As a result, the store won’t require anyone to man a register or check customers out, although it will need someone to occasionally restock items.

Of course, Wheelys isn’t the only company looking to reduce the friction of local retail. Most famously, Amazon is testing a cashier-free retail location in Seattle called Amazon Go. But Wheelys is one of the first startups to get in on the action, and the company’s Shanghai location isn’t the first unmanned store it launched. Early last year, it debuted a cashier-free shop in a small town in Sweden.

With offices in Sweden and Shanghai, Wheelys is able to test in different retail environments — whether it’s a rural area where the nearest store is a 20-minute drive away or a location in a densely populated city. Regardless, the company sees a future where unmanned stores aren’t the exception, but the norm. “I believe in five to 10 years, all stores will look like this,” De La Croix said.

In the same way it allowed pretty much anyone to become a cafe owner, Wheelys thinks it can usher in a new era of local retail shops. Rather than allowing the big brick and mortar retailers to get all the benefit from unmanned shops, Wheelys wants to license to other entrepreneurs who will be able take advantage of its technology.

And all that could mean more stores where users can buy grab-and-go food and other goods coming to a town near you.

Source : techcrunch.com

(Author : Springwise)
Waitrose, in partnership with CNG Fuels and Scania, have introduced 10 trucks that run on biomethane, which produces 70 percent less pollution than diesel.

UK supermarket debuts delivery trucks fueled by food waste

Waitrose’s 10 new delivery trucks are fueled by biomethane, a renewable fuel made from food waste. Supplied by CNG Fuels, the trucks are able to cover 500 miles without refueling, which is 200 miles more than previous capacity allowed. Swedish transport company Scania and the United States’ Agility Fuel Systems designed a new carbon fiber fuel tank that is not only lighter than previous versions, it is able to hold more fuel.

Biomethane gas is a much more environmentally friendly option than diesel and costs up to 35 percent less while emitting 70 percent less carbon dioxide. Previously, biomethane-powered vehicles had much lower ranges than traditionally powered cars and trucks, making transport businesses less interested in using them. Now, the latest versions of biomethane trucks could generate up to GBP 100,000 savings over five years of use.

Finding ways to make transport work harder by introducing dual functionality is one way to improve its sustainability. Trucks in Germany use e-ink signs on the backs of trailers to display local ads, road information and weather updates. And office shuttle buses in Belgium turn commutes into work opportunities.

Source : springwise.com

(Author : Paul Skeldon)
Jaguar drivers can now use their car’s touchscreen to pay for fuel with a new cashless payment app at Shell service stations in the UK.

Jaguar and Shell put mobile into mobile payments with touchscreen in-car fuel payments with PayPal

Rather than using a card at the pump, or queuing in the forecourt shop, Jag owners who install the Shell app can simply drive up to any pump at a participating Shell service station in the UK and use the vehicle’s touchscreen to select how much fuel they require and pay using PayPal or Apple Pay. Android Pay will be added later in 2017.

An electronic receipt will be displayed on the touchscreen, so customers can leave the forecourt confident of having paid. A receipt will also be sent directly from the pump to the driver’s email address so it can be added to accounting or expenses software.

Peter Virk, Jaguar Land Rover’s Director of Connected Car and Future Technology, explains: “In a world where cash is no longer king, customers are increasingly using electronic payments and contactless cards. Making a payment directly from a car’s touchscreen will make refuelling quicker and easier. With this new system you can choose any pump on the forecourt and pay for the fuel even if you’ve forgotten your wallet or can’t find your credit or debit card.”

“You will save time because there’s no more queuing to pay in a shop, and for drivers with children, it won’t be necessary to wake them up, or unstrap them from their seats to take them into the shop. Expenses and tax returns will also be made much simpler, with no receipts to lose as these will all be sent electronically.”

Unlike current phone-based payment methods, Shell and Jaguar Land Rover have created a simple but secure customer experience that uses geolocation technology and a cloud based pre-payment check with the PayPal or Apple Pay wallet.

David Bunch, Global Vice President Shell Retail Marketing and Chairman, Shell Brands International, said: ““As the world’s number one global fuels retailer, this e-commerce collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover is part of Shell’s commitment to continuously improve the digital experience for our customers at the forecourt. In 2015 Shell introduced mobile payments at the pump in the UK. Today we are proud to offer the next step in cashless motoring, with Jaguar and Land Rover customers in the UK paying for their Shell fuel using the car’s touchscreen. With around 30 million customers every day, we have a mission to continuously find ways to make our customer’s journey’s better. We look forward to further exciting developments like this across our 43,000 sites around the world soon.”

The Shell app with in-car cashless payments will be available to download from 15 February in the UK and will be rolled out in additional markets across the globe during 2017.

Virk adds: “We are working with leaders in e-commerce such as Shell to enable our customers to enjoy cashless motoring via their car’s touchscreen.Whether it’s paying for fuel, parking, tolls, or even at a drive-through restaurant, the aim of cashless motoring is to make life easier for our customers.

“Our technology allows users to put their phone away out of sight and use it via the touchscreen in the car, because as the car becomes more connected to the Internet of Things, we will always be guided by what is appropriate and safe to do while driving. So in-car payments would only be enabled when it is safe to do so, preventing unnecessary driver distractions.”

Source : internetretailing.net

(Author : Joey Haar)
Alibaba Buy+ is a new e-commerce concept from the Chinese retail giant that has the potential to completely revolutionize how people shop for products. 

Alibaba Buy+ is a Virtual Mall Showcasing the Company's Products

Due to its ability to create immersive private worlds for each user, VR has an unlimited amount of potential in a variety of fields. Alibaba’s new technology is the natural extension of how VR will come into play in the world of digital retail.

Alibaba Buy+ is a virtual reality shopping mall. By donning just a VR headset (with the option to add two handheld remotes for HTC Vive owners,) consumers can walk through the virtual space of the mall, visit various stores, and make purchases that will then be delivered in the real world. The program is currently available in beta only.

Source : trendhunter.com

(Author : Brielle Jaekel)
Sephora is implementing a new system for its store buyers that runs on mobile for a more streamlined behind-the-scenes operation, making it easier to find new products that will boast well with each store’s audience.

sephora-innovates-business-practices-with-mobile-buying-platform

The beauty retailer, an innovator in modern business operations, has partnered with retail-buying platform RangeMe for a contemporary practice in product buying. Sephora will now be able to find new products from suppliers in a streamlined manner through a mobile application. “Our technology expedites the time it takes for retailers to source products at scale resulting in increased sales and competitive advantage,” said Nicky Jackson, Founder and CEO of RangeMe.

Modern operations
Sephora is known as a fan favorite for beauty lovers because it focuses on modern technology and a new way of doing business that caters to customers. The strategy boasts well for the retailer, who is always implementing new innovations in all areas of its business.

A partnership with RangeMe will now innovate behind the scenes for Sephora allowing buyer associates to operate within an app. Suppliers are able to submit their products for possible purchase and Sephora buying team members can browse what products to carry in store. The modern platform operates similar to a consumer-facing retail app to make it easier for employees. Associates can save a product for future reference, request a sample and select connect to take the next steps in the buying process. Sephora buyers and suppliers can discuss directly through the platform. Users can create categories and receive notifications when new products are available within those categories.

Sephora strategy
The beauty retailer Sephora recently took a huge step in ecommerce innovation by rolling out an artificial-intelligence-based app that helps consumers find specific shades by simply uploading a photo. The platform, the product of a partnership with facial analysis and visualization technology firm ModiFace, will likely have far reaching consequences outside of the beauty industry. The technology will be an organic ancillary to Sephora’s online buying process and will encourage transactions by allowing the consumer to visualize product benefits post-transaction.As one of the first beauty retailers to institute the use of chatbots, Sephora also continued its streak with some extra features for its chatbot service aimed toward improving consumer experience both at home and in-store. The two new features focus on different areas of the consumer experience. One will help customers book appointments with a Sephora beauty specialist and the other will give customers help with making purchasing decisions on their own.

“We are excited to facilitate the product discovery process for one of the largest and most innovative beauty retailers in the world,” Mr. Jackson said.

Source : mobilecommercedaily.com

(Author : luxurydaily)
German automaker BMW is bringing its vehicles closer to consumers with a new augmented reality platform as part of its ongoing strategy to provide more information to interested customers wherever they are.

bmw-fans-get-up-and-close-without-stepping-foot-in-a-dealership

Leveraging Google’s smartphone AR technology and the mobile application Tango, BMW is allowing users to get to know its i3 or i8 vehicles without leaving their homes. In its beta testing phase right now, the AR Product Visualizer will rollout to all consumers who have a tango-enabled device through an app on the Google Play store.

Augmenting innovation
Consumers interested in a new BMW i3 or i8 will be able to get up close and personal with their ideal vehicle through its Product Visualizer app. Users can customize each vehicle how they like and test it out through the AR app. Because the app is augmented reality and virtual reality, the BMW vehicles will appear in the space the user is located currently. Using the camera function of the smartphone, the app will produce an image of the BMW within the real space. Each vehicle can be customized with the exterior and interior of the user’s interest. For instance, colors inside and out can be altered as well as wheel rims.

Participants will be able to open the doors, turn on light switches and “climb inside” of the vehicles. The app is being piloted in a double-digit number of sales outlets. Users are also able to save the AR experience and share through social media, email and a QR code. Accenture, a technology platform developer, created the initiative with BMW.

Future of BMW
The Visualizer app is a part of BMW Group’s Future Retail program that specializes in innovating the car shopping experience. The program designs new digital properties to help consumers arm themselves with more information. BMW was also recently at the start of what could be a dramatic shift in the television advertising industry by allowing users to interact through their remote controls. Consumers with smart television sets such as Roku are able to interact with new BMW ads for a more personalized and helpful ad experience. Interested users can grab their remotes to view a BMW X1 in various colors or different angles while the ad is playing. Also, BMW India hoped to increase attendance at its BMW Festival this year by making a lasting impression through personalized videos that brought individuals into its content.

Targeted Facebook users in India saw videos tailored specifically to them, incorporating consumers into the adrenaline inducing content. BMW’s video addresses the viewer’s name and location while getting their blood pumping with cutting edge footage of its vehicles completing intense driving feats.

Source : luxurydaily.com

(Author : Ben Sillitoe)
Grocery chain Coop Italia has opened its digitally-led ‘store of the future’ at the Milan University campus, having showcased the concept at Milan Expo in 2015.

coop-italia-makes-its-store-of-the-future-a-present-day-reality

The new flagship store, located in Milan’s university area of Bicocca, merges physical and digital aspects of retailing to create a modern version of the traditional open-air markets popular in the local area.

Features aimed at providing a fresh take on the in-store customer experience include interactive food display tables and smart shelves that use digital technology to display product information in new ways. The project incorporates a series of technical solutions originally developed by Accenture for Coop at Milan Expo 2015, based on designs by MIT professor and head of Carlo Ratti Association, Carlo Ratti.

Products are exhibited in the supermarket on large interactive tables where a movement of the hand shows augmented information about the product on a monitor, including its origins, nutritional facts, the presence of allergens, waste disposal instructions, correlated products and promotions. This experience is facilitated by Microsoft Kinect sensors that use body detection to interpret the customer’s gestures.

Real time data visualisation
During the shopping journey, consumers have access to a large real-time data visualisation screen displaying content such as Coop’s brand values, top-selling products, special daily offerings and cooking suggestions, and social media information including posts on the retailer’s Facebook account.

Working with Avanade, a joint venture company between Accenture and Microsoft, Accenture helped implement the IT infrastructure, and analyse and develop point-of-sale touchpoints. The tech is underpinned by a Microsoft Azure cloud-based platform which can be scaled to a large number of stores if Coop opts to roll out this concept across its wider portfolio.

Marco Pedroni, president of Coop Italia, commented: “Following the great success and positive feedback we received when we showcased the Supermarket of the Future concept at Expo Milano 2015, we got straight to work to make our vision a reality.

“Using their digital expertise, Accenture and Avanade have helped us redesign the grocery shopping experience through a digital journey that meets customer demand for information, engagement and functionality in a simple and intuitive way.”

Source : www.c/news