i3 - January/February 2018 - 48

TURNING
RETAIL INTO
MAGIC AT
 

CES
2018

High tech solutions
from AR dressing rooms
to AI analyses are giving
retailers the tools they
need to reimagine the
shopping experience.
By Robin Raskin

48

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

hopping at Lowe's these days brings tears of joy to my DIY eyes.
Where I used to spend hours on a scavenger hunt for Gorilla Glue,
I now search for it on my Lowe's app, find out how many are left in the
store, and even know which aisle to go to when I get there.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Lowe's new AR apps include a digital tape measure that takes real-world measurements using a phone's camera and an app that lets users see what a renovation project will look like
before they begin. In the San Francisco store you can experience the
Lowebot, a robotic shopping assistant that guides you to your aisle.
Lowe's is not alone. A visit to the Target Open House, a showcase for
innovation in San Francisco, offers customers sneak peeks at earlystage products and doubles as a test lab to inform Target about consumer behaviors. Motion sensors built into the countertops monitor
store traffic, products are displayed in natural habitats like living rooms,
and it's a center for community events.
"There was a time when retailers primarily focused on merchandising and product selection," says Laura Heller, editor-in-chief of Retail
Dive. "Today, that focus is very different as merchants turn to technology to not only assist in merchandising and product selection by using
data, but to power their very businesses and interact with customers."
Heller thinks that the most compelling conversations in retail today
center on the use of artificial intelligence and voice technology (think
Alexa), augmented reality, interactive in-store displays, mobile solutions and cloud services. "Anyone not testing or using these technologies" she says, "is already very far behind."

S

CREATING A DESTINATION

Whether online or in the physical store, one of the most overt ways
retailers are experimenting with technology is as a draw for the experience-loving shopper. Women's fashion and beauty is taking a lead.
Sephora recently announced the opening of smaller stores that specialize in personalization including virtual customer makeovers. YouCam
teamed up with Estée Lauder to allow shoppers to try on shades of
lipstick using an app before they purchase. Levi's embeds a virtual stylist into its Facebook messenger chat that guides you towards the best
fit. TriMirror is a mind boggling virtual dressing room where online
shoppers create personal avatars (in their body image) and have a fitting
room experience. Robotics greeters like Softbank's Pepper are welcoming customers into stores with whimsical activations. Swarovski and
MasterCard let customers view and then buy beautiful (and fragile)
home goods without touching the merchandise.
Maureen O'Connor, a board member for Macy's Fashion Incubator,
believes artificial intelligence will help retailers personalize merchandise
for consumers, learning their likes and dislikes and growing from there.
I T I S I N N O VAT I O N



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - January/February 2018

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