That’s a wrap! What a week at the Retail Asia Expo; 36 seminars, 9109 attendees and 180 exhibitors over 3 days bursting with innovation, cutting-edge technology and the latest in retail design and marketing. With so much buzz it’s definitely difficult to pick a handful of highlights but here’s a quick roundup of my favourites from the event.
First things first, the trend trail. When it comes to making an entrance, creative agency Fitch definitely knows how to do it right. When visitors first enter the exhibition they were guided through a customer’s mind in the form of an expo pathway. Here they were able to interact with trending technologies influential to the 5 stages of a customer’s purchase process. There was an exciting variety of technology to explore, ranging from innovations which enhance the way consumers engage with brands to machines which transform the way they shop.
The “Dreaming” section saw a Scan and Treat machine which allows shoppers to scan their WeChat QR code for a sample or coupon. This is not only a win for shoppers but also enables retailers to track promotions with actual purchases and link online accounts with offline customers.
In the “Exploring” section was our own connected fitting room! Visitors loved getting hands on and exploring the AI driven product suggestions, trying out the different lighting moods, compiling try on lists and calling to get them delivered.
Walking around the rest of the expo was a treat for the eyes and a feast for inspiration. It seems omnichannel has become somewhat standard and leveraging data in different ways continues to be fundamental to retail success.
Retail and technology have almost become inseparable as businesses are increasingly trying to create better shopping experiences in order to gain and retain customers.
The breadth and extensivity of technological applications throughout different aspects of the retail process were simply brilliant. 3D Technology created a Virtual Assistant; an interactive life-sized hologram assistant who can answer any enquiries you may have, fully fitted with motion sensors. Think Siri, but in person.
After months of rendering, negotiation and preparation, to say I was excited to finally see our booth come to life would be an understatement.
Our booth was bustling throughout the three days with hundreds of live demos performed and many interesting discussions sparked. On either corner of the main street, we had our smart makeup counter and jewellery counter. Along the back wall we showcased 2 of our connected fitting rooms and 5 meters of smart shelves.
We also had 2 POS tables where visitors enjoyed trying out the RFID x QR code solution to check out their complimentary socks. Last but not least we can’t forget the crucial coffee stand in the middle.
As I continued to explore the creations on offer, two overarching trends became evident. So many of the concepts gravitated around personalisation and seamlessness.
From our managing partner, Carson’s keynote at the OCRC we learnt that 56% of consumers are more likely to shop at a retailer that recognises them by name. Personalisation has become increasingly important to consumers and solution providers have adapted to cater to this.
SmartRetail has created a Smart Retail Vending Machine which uses AI and facial recognition sensor to produce a customised user interface personalised to that particular customer.
On the seamlessness front, there was everything from seamless payments to seamless brand experiences to seamless O2O shopping. The choices were abundant and the message was clear; retailers who continue to invest in their omnichannel strategies will succeed and those who don’t will fail.
In my own seminar in the retail technology theatre, I shared my insights and millennial perspective on the future of retail. In my presentation, I analysed how as today’s consumers we are no longer satisfied with just passively consuming things, instead we need a more active participation in our daily interactions.
We expect an unique experience from our favourite brands. I then explored how to transform the store into an engaging experience and shared two avenues which I have found to be most effective; through digital immersion and sensory marketing. Stay tuned for my upcoming blog and webinar on these topics for all the juicy details.
With so much going on this year at Retail Asia Expo 2017, it’s safe to say it was one of the best years yet! Thank you to everyone who visited, it was an absolute delight!
See you all next year!