New store to define contactless physical shopping experience

A new interactive retail store, called CornerShop, has opened in London to demonstrate the store of the future, using the latest technologies to reimagine the shopping experience for food, drink and fashion.

The digital innovation, consulting and transformation brand of the Capgemini GroupCapgemini Invent is working in partnership with SharpEnd, a connected consumer agency and Internet of Things (IoT) provider, and The Drum, a global media platform.

Inspired by the traditional British ‘corner shop’, the modern version has been designed to show retailers and brands how new innovations can evolve the customer experience, improve in-store operations, and enable consumers to rediscover the joy of in-person retail through new and exciting ways to shop.

Combining real-life products, the latest technologies and personalised experiences, everything on display in the CornerShop has been curated based on insights gathered from real-life store transactions and the challenges retailers and consumers face today.

Commenting on the launch of the store, Steve Hewett, global VP, retail customer experience, Capgemini Invent says, “While the long-term impact of the pandemic on retail stores is yet to fully reveal itself, the events of this year have radically escalated retailers’ need to build out their digital capabilities.

The industry is on the cusp of a new era, driven by advances in technology that are totally reshaping consumer expectations. A glimpse at what retail could look like in the near future, CornerShop has been specially designed to bring to life the most innovative technologies and show brands how they can blend the physical and digital to create a seamless, differentiated in-store experience.”

Rob Hollands, managing director at SharpEndadds, “As consumer shopping behaviours continue to be shaped by the pandemic, retailers need to improve both their digital savvy and the type of experiences they offer.

To do this, they must adopt technologies that provide customers with the option to shop and interact in the way that best suits their individual needs and preferences. Showing what this level of choice could look like in a retail environment, CornerShop aims to help retailers drive their transformation further to get closer to their customers.”

Inside the store, the CornerShop mobile app will convert visitors’ smartphones into their guide, leading them through the space and providing insights on the technologies and future concepts on display. These will include:

  • Personalised greetings – using Bluetooth-based location technologies, customers will be greeted with a personal message when they enter the store and offered details of previous visits and experiences.
  • Sentient store – building on the personalised greeting, this concept uses advanced sensor tracking technologies, such as beacons, NFC and camera analytics, combined with robust data security and transparent data governance/value exchanges, to generate actionable insights on customers and their behaviour in store.
  • Virtual Try-On – this solution explores how users can see products on themselves without trying them on physically. When an item is hung up on the virtual try-on display, computer vision and RFID identify the product, convert it into a digital image and map the customer’s face profile (set-up within the CornerShop app) onto a model wearing it.
  • Vertical Farming – customers will be able to browse and buy fresh produce that lines the walls of the CornerShop and has been grown in the store using machine learning. Without pre-packaging, they can select only as much as they need, avoiding food waste.
  • Purposeful Shelves –through the mobile app, customers will be able to share their individual needs, preferences, intolerances and sustainability goals, which the store will use to deliver a more personalised shopping experience with relevant product recommendations and insights.
  • Social distancing controls – retailers will be able to measure social distancing between customers in store and generate reports as proof that they are adhering to regulations and ensuring customer safety.

Adding to the retail experience, the store will also house a virtual barista to serve customers a coffee contactlessly, a self-serve snack bar, and a touchless smart grocery section focused on helping consumers make sustainable and purposeful choices.

Gordon Young, founder, The Drum, concludes, “The pandemic has caused the high street to worry about its survival, but we opened our retail store in lockdown to show brands and retailers that there are solutions available. We are excited to showcase new experiences and pioneering technologies that can help retailers innovate and thrive in the post-pandemic world.”

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