Welcome to J.C. Williams Group’s Retail Innovations Blog Series where we celebrate global retail innovation, concepts, and trends! This series is based on our annual publication Retail Innovations, developed in partnership with our affiliate members from the Ebeltoft Group. We’ve taken the four hot trends (Smart Shopping, Interactions, Brand Intensity, and Responsibility) identified in Retail Innovations 12 and have split these up into 4 easily digestible blogs that will be released over the course of the summer. Enjoy!
Hot Trend #1 – Smart Shopping
Make it as efficient and convenient to shop in-store as it is to shop Amazon.
Smart Shopping makes consumers’ lives easier, simpler, and more efficient without compromising the quality of products or the shopping experience in general. Innovation is often driven by technology and the intent to deliver an integrated omni-channel experience. The following case studies demonstrate the Smart Shopping trend. The first two cases presented below, Canada Post and eatsa, each received the 2016 Ebeltoft Retail Innovation Award.
Canada Post’s new “Drive-thru Parcel Centre” is an original and convenient alternative to the modern post office. The new concept store utilizes automation and self-service technologies to create a simpler and more efficient way for customers to receive and send parcels. The 4,500-square-foot store has a sleek, clean, modern, and open environment and features 24/7 access, self-service kiosks, a vending machine, a drive-thru for parcel pick-up and even a fitting room.
Eatsa (San Francisco, California, USA)
Eatsa is a fully automated restaurant chain whose goal is to make delicious, nutritious foods accessible to more people through a technology-driven restaurant experience. Technology fuels convenience and speed in an ordering process completely driven by digital screens and menu options, with an emphasis on a sustainable and nutritious offer.
The restaurant functions like a vending machine. Customers enter and order at an iPad kiosk, or via the eatsa app, and then wait at a wall of glass cubbies, where their food appears when ready. From start to finish, there is zero interaction between customer and employee.
Apodoc Hardbrücke (Zurich, Switzerland)
Apodoc is a combined medical practice, pharmacy and coffee shop, where doctors, pharmacists and restaurateurs work together. All benefit from the synergy of patients, customers and health professionals sharing a space. Patients/customers appreciate being able to accomplish multiple tasks in a single physical location.
Bloom & Wild (United Kingdom)
Bloom & Wild is an online-only flower delivery service. The business ships flowers and other small gifts for next-day delivery across the UK, and same-day delivery in London, as well as offers a monthly subscription service. Individual bunches range from £20-£55.
eXperience BCR (Bucharest, Romania)
BCR, the biggest bank in Romania (part of the Austrian group ERSTE), launched in 2016 as eXperience BCR, exemplifying new banking trends and integrating advanced technologies for communicating with and counseling customers.
J.C. Williams Group’s Expert advice
Smart technology’s success is in its ability to make the shopping journey more efficient, faster or more convenient without sacrificing the key elements that are important to consumers. These elements may be quality, nutrition, specialized services, human engagement, etc. BCR’s use of banking is a great example of a new-age banking centre that can be used to enhance service to rural areas or to provide access to specialized topic experts. As technology becomes increasingly affordable and accessible over time, businesses will have to assess where smart technology can best enhance the shopping experience.
For more information on global retail innovation, download Retail Innovations 12 from our www.jcwg.com