Future Proofing Retail in the Wave of Emerging Tech | DMA

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Future Proofing Retail in the Wave of Emerging Tech


It is an exciting time for technology and innovation, with the consistent arrival of new start-ups, new technology and Government funded projects. It seems like every day a new app or exciting digital product arrives on the scene, ready to improve our lives and radically impact the way we see and do things. Retail is certainly one standout industry where technology innovation is being adopted to streamline processes and improve customer experience in-store and online.

Retail experts predict that 50% of the retail industry will be automated by 2020. But the reality is, at the current pace of adoption it could be MUCH earlier than that. Brands will rush to automate to stay competitive and those who don’t adapt in time will fall by the way-side.

In the retail world IBM has partnered with Softbank to manufacture robots that will assist customers in retail shops. The robots are already being used in Japan to serve customers in Nestle Cafes and the US are currently in the process of rolling them out. Robots are feeding hungry crust guzzlers at US start-up Zume Pizza, who plan to move to full automation.

Uniqlo takes emotive purchasing behaviour one step further using an EKG headset to measure five different attributes of the customer and then match them with clothes that best suits their preferences.

Planar Systems is designing transparent displays and windows that they hope will soon become an integral part of building design and layout; meanwhile, see-through TVs are already hitting the market.

Last year, US home improvement store Lowes, introduced an automated retail service robot to help customers navigate the store and find products. Watch the video for a glimpse of the future!

Lowes robot

Brands are using new technology to better connect and communicate with customers. Blackmores partnered with Holler creative agency and professors in cognitive neuroscience and psychology, to develop the “Mindful Ocean” – an in-store wellness check that shows customers real time visualisation of their brain waves, using state of the art EEG Headbands. Watch what happens here…

Amazon reveals plans to deploy “air fulfilment centres (AFCs)” that would each act as a flying warehouse from which drones could deliver goods to customers.

Change is a good thing, but rapid change can be very disruptive and unnerving. Introducing just one technology like the ones mentioned can have massive impact on the delicate business ecosystems that are intertwined around it; manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, operators, users and not to mention the elephant in the room – the impact on human jobs!

In order to grow and move forward we must embrace change, so how do we address the challenges and work together for a better future?

Businesses need to think about how they will be using new tech such as the Sony Xperia Touch, a short throw projector that uses cameras and sensors to turn any flat surface into a 23-inch, high definition touchscreen. It’s not just about what tech to use, we need to think about how we continue to collect data and integrate insights with other campaigns.

Watch the video to warp your mind with endless ideas of the amazing ways you could incorporate this into your strategy…

Sony Experia

When it comes to adapting to change quickly, many companies feel they do not have the financial capabilities or expert resources in place to stay current and competitive. Larger organisations often struggle to manoeuvre quickly enough to adapt to change. There are many cost effective changes you can make today to better streamline processes and automate customer interactions.

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