Swarm's Retail Revival - Monthly Picks, November.

This month we explore a selection of inspiriting retail innovation stories that are helping customers to fall back in love with the shopping experience with a little help from technology to blend the digital and physical retail worlds.

How will the shops of the future be designed?
This Design Week article draws from the insights of retail designers about the future of shopping in a post-covid world. These insights involve using robotics to create more efficient stock control in the ‘back-room’, which would allow the shop-floor to offer more interaction-based experiences to customers, rather than product and transaction-focused. Connecting online experiences with loyalty aided by in-store technology is also key for drawing the now, digital-first shopper back into bricks and mortar store experiences.

Designer Outlet Cotswolds development due to open in 2022 with 90 shops
Fantastic news for retail this month with the announcement of Designer Outlet Cotswolds – a new development due to open in 2022 with up to 90 shops, restaurants and cafés in an attractive Cotswold-style village environment. This unique project is being led by property developers, Robert Hitchins Ltd in partnership with ROS Retail Outlet Shopping who are renowned for creating innovative outlet shopping concepts across Europe. 

Ralph Lauren collaborates with Snapchat for Augmented Reality experience series
This summer, Ralph Lauren announced a long-term global partnership with Snap to introduce virtual branded style for Bitmoji avatars, inspired by real, shoppable Ralph Lauren looks. This partnership has developed over more recent months with Ralph Lauren introducing a series of immersive digital-first experiences, utilising a first-to-market Snapchat logo scan feature for apparel. App users will be able to scan the brand’s iconic Polo Pony logo from embroidery, fabric, shopping bags, advertisements or any other medium to unlock a series of augmented reality experiences, engaging the consumer in new ways. Once scanned, the logo will lead users to a holiday-inspired AR experience that “offers the opportunity to discover the rich world of Ralph Lauren all the way through to the point of purchase.

eBay Opens Drive-Thru 'Authentication Station' in LA
eBay has recently launched their ‘Authenticity Guarantee’ which uses independent experts to vet and verify product labels through a thorough inspection, to provide shopper confidence when making purchases through the consumer-to-consumer platform. To bring the digital experience to the real world, eBay has converted a gas station in East Hollywood into a drive-thru ‘Authentication Station’ – offering customers a socially-distanced way to evaluate and sell sneakers, watches and collectables, without leaving their vehicles. We love this example of bringing a digital concept to life in a real-world environment - especially during the pandemic when customers are at saturation point with digital experience. 

Asda Innovation Store
Our fifth and final pick for November is Asda and their 'Test & Learn' technology store. Asda’s Stevenage store is a testbed for new technology, concepts and retailing developments including shelf holograms to market promotions, availability cameras which detect low stock, and a wine recommendation kiosk among many others. Not only are these innovations eye-catching for the customer, but they also increase the efficiency of shopfloor employees and help with demand planning, as information and insights are passed along the supply chain. Asda is asking for feedback from store colleagues and customers alike so that it can continuously learn and improve the store proposition.


Image Credit: SGB Media