The September Retail Round-Up


In our September round-up, we explore how the latest changes in retail are impacting the shopper and how technology innovations can add value to create a seamless shopper journey. We review the brands evaluating and enhancing their shopper's experience and highlight the trends redefining the world of grocery retailing.

Retail Trends

Image source: Insider Trends, 2018

Retail in the real-world: How physical retail is moving beyond the store

Traditional retail ideologies continue to diminish as a new format of the physical store comes into its own. Whilst technology advancements are making almost anything possible for the shopper, physical retail continue's to flourish and prosper as more and more brands are transforming and streamlining their estate with new store formats and digitisation, shaping how we shop. Let’s face it, people like to have some physical involvement in the things that they buy. Applying ‘out of the box’ retail thinking and combining it with innovative technologies creates experiences that shoppers don’t easily forget. Brands such asTommy Hilfiger,Nike,HondaandGalvanhave demonstrated the new era of retailing in a creative and fascinating way. 


Image source: PSFK, 2018

Don't take it personally: How retailers are tailoring experiences with customer data

Regardless of whether they are shopping online, in store, or on social media, consumers expect brands to cater to their needs and align throughout their omni-channel shopping experience. Creating personalised experiences for shoppers has been a focus for many brands over the years, especially when it comes to tailoring solutions and product suggestions. However, obtaining customer data to develop this personalisation is becoming increasingly difficult, due to negative perceptions around data capture. As a result, brands must adapt to find interactive and non-invasive ways to attain customer data. Brands such asSephora,WalgreensandWegmansFood Market are using gamification (quizzes and tests) to capture customer data and provide tailored offerings. This method of data capture could prove particularly useful in health and beauty and food and drink sectors where personal tastes direct decision making.



Taking automotive to new heights: Mazda introduce a VR driving experience

Imagine taking a trip to the Italian Alps straight from the Intu shopping centre. Well now you can; by test driving theMazdaMX5 or CX-5. Customers can sit in the latest Mazda models wearing VR headsets, which enable them to experience a 360-degree immersive virtual test drive through the Italian Alps or the Longcross test track in Surrey. Test driving a car without actually leaving the physical store is yet another fantastic way of introducing technology to create an engaging, memorable and value-added experiences for the shopper.


Image source: Chain Store Age, 2018

High-tech retailing: Lululemon raise the bar for digitised sports retailing

Would digital mirrors and projection mapping enhance your shopping experience? Lululemonhas updated the look and feel of its San José store, featuring cutting edge technology carefully curated to enhance the retail environment by making shopping easier, quicker and more interactive. The clever use of projection mapping to showcase Lululemon’s most loved products,fitting room checkout kiosks to speed up purchasing and digital mirrors that can access a wealth of information with the tap of a price tag, are just a few examples of how Lululemon has taken tech to a whole new level. 


Scan to try: Nike's new way of trying on trainers without talking to a sales associate

Nike possess a wealth of information about their customers and how they shop. They know that their customers want to try before they buy, so it makes perfect sense to introduce a new way to try on shoes through the help of an app. The app works in conjunction with a barcode featured on the inside of each display shoe, once scanned, the customer can request to try any size of the shoe available in stock, which is then brought to them by a sales associate within minutes, no pressure to buy. Scan to try is part of a suite of features Nike is launching. Could this take off and be rolled out globally?



Image source: Retail Focus, 2018

Sports Direct introduce 'Beyond Sport' concept store

WillSports Directfans remain loyal as the brand makes moves into premium retailing? Sports Direct introduce a new store format to Lakeside retail park, focusing on elevating customer experience and introducing a premium range. The store features dedicated lifestyle and experience areas, harnessing tech such as 360-degree digital mirrors, implementing clearer merchandising and improved communications. The retailer also aims to create a women’s destination within store, to enhance the brand's appeal to female shoppers. A stark contrast to Sports Direct's current estate, the new format, range and experience could entice a brand new shopper. But can they maintain their value offering for their core customer?


Image source: Forbes, 2018

Ikea optimise their retail footprint to address the rise of e-commerce

As the high street continues to struggle and more retailers shut their doors each week, it is transform or die for traditional stores. But the future of retail isn’t entirely bleak; established brands are driving the rise of smaller and reimagined store formats, looking to change the way we shop through service-focused micro concepts. Ikea is the latest brand to try and spark growth through introducing a smaller, urban store format. This change will impacts Ikea’s fundamental economics, creating room for greater margin, whilst increasing the store's accessibility to urban shoppers. The success of their new format will rest on whether they can deliver their shopper experience and broad product range loved by their customers within the new restricted retail space.


Image source: PSFK, 2018

Superdrug introduce cosmetics procedures to stores as lip fillers become mainstream 

As cosmetics procedures such as lip fillers become more popular in the millennial demographic, Superdrug increases its reach and in store service offering by introducing minor cosmetics procedures to its London flagship. The store already offers several beauty treatments from eyebrow grooming to hair styling, however, this new range of services will really differentiate them from the pack, as more retailers start offering standard beauty services. Whilst the store will benefit from the convenience of being a ‘one stop shop’ for all beauty needs, Superdrug will still need to develop their point of difference to convince shoppers of why they should choose them over other established clinics.


Harrods introduce 'Taste Revolution' - their redesigned Wine & Spirits section

Harrods unveil a complete redesign of their Wine & Spirits section within their famous food hall. The new space provides ‘sensual pleasures’ for the shopper, an immersive experience where they can play with aroma, taste and visual aesthetics. The look and feel is derived from 1920’s glamour, romance and vintage chic. Tasting is available in the wine tasting room, also hosting exclusive events and private consultations from experts. Bell jars with trumpet-like extensions release aromas reflecting wine notes. This project marks the biggest redesign in the history of the department store, indicating a changing of pace and strategy for even the most famous British retailer. Will the new format give Harrods the edge they need to survive extinction?



Image source: BBC, 2018

Sainsbury's trial their first till-free store

Sainsbury's is taking radical action against long queues for staffed and self-service checkouts. The supermarket introduced a scan-as-you-shop app called ‘Sainsbury's SmartShop’ that allows customers to scan the contents of their trolley as they browse aisles; they are now trialling payments via the app in one retail location. If proved successful, this new system could mean the end of traditional grocery retailing and checkout systems. Before then it remains to be seen how shoppers will take to the new system and whether they will feel it provides an added benefit. Shoppers will still require interaction with staff to remove security tags and they must also learn a new checkout system entirely that could add unnecessary complexity.


Image source: Consultancy UK, 2018

Millennials demand more in store technology for grocery retailing

Once again millennials and their everchanging shopping habits are redefining retail. A Hitachi Consulting study revealed that 70% of British millennials want more technology in grocery stores, with 69% more likely to shop with a retailer enhancing the shopping experience with innovative technology. Studies indicated that light detection and laser imaging is the kind of technology they would like to see more of, used to prompt in-store when items are forgotten, or to send push notifications to highlight missed offers. Will grocery retailers adopt this kind of in-store technology to add value for shoppers, or will it be a case of ‘tech for tech’s sake’?


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