The Future of Retail is Techy

Retail Design ExpoLast week was busy for the retail design sector in London. Retail Design Expo was a new event as a part of the bigger Retail Business Technology Expo. It was clear to see how much business opportunities there are in the technical side of the retail design.

When browsing through the stands it seemed that this tech driven business is convinced that all people want to do when shopping is use apps, and that clever data collection is the answer to generate great sales results. However, the truth is that we are still years away from The Internet of Things (IoT) and intelligently connected devices.

Many of the apps and interfaces were working based on an overly simplified logic. They were too tech driven or purely marketing gimmicks to allure customers for more than a few seconds of entertainment and distraction.

The problem is that the industry seems to be still too tech and not human behaviour driven in both thinking and design. Not enough time has been used trying to solve real problems of the user based on an actual customer journeys. Why? Because it can be a much bigger investment and not as straightforward to solve.

However, the future direction is clear. We are just not there quite yet. In future the store is a real smart space with personalised, hyper relevant and micro localised messages using beacons, geolocalisation, push notifications and apps. Ambient proximity is one of the most talked about tools to gather data. However, there are still important security issues and concerns that have not been solved satisfactorily enough.

Shifting the focus from only developing technology to anticipating customer needs can be a key when searching collaboration partners for brands. Complementary and intuitive partners can bring added growth opportunities.

All in all the end message for retail design is that it is all about ideas and creativity; technology alone won’t bring in the profits.


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