2017 was a year full of changes for the retail sector – changes that are shaping an innovative vision of storefronts and payment methods. We’re definitely expecting 2018 to bring strong investments in the shopping experience, especially in terms of transforming stores and payments.
Digital fashion: the new Massimo Dutti store in Milan
Massimo Dutti, one of the biggest clothing producers in the Inditex group, has recently inaugurated a new store in Milan, in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. The store is divided in 4 floors: 2 dedicated to men’s fashion and 2 to women’s. But the impressive thing about this new storefront isn’t its size – it’s the way it’s incorporated evolutions in tech that have happened over the last few years.
The store was actually designed with the goal of transforming the experience of shopping for and trying on clothes into something innovative and digital, in responding to the needs of customers. They’ve implemented new features on 3 fronts.
Digital dressing rooms: clothes are scanned and automatically appear on a screen inside the dressing room. Customers can consult touch screens for information or to request a different size. The screens also have a Visual Search Technology system that suggests similar or complementary items to what the customer is trying on.
Purchasing and payments: Customers can pay securely with the store’s new mobile app which will include Wallet payments. A QR code is generated so the customer can make the payment, and they can save the receipt to their device.
Eco-efficient design: Compared to a conventional store, the new Dutti store reduces electricity consumption by around 30% through the use of leds and lighting plans. Even water consumption was reduced through the creation of certain spaces that promote recycling.
Paying in Bitcoin: the evolution of the pound
It’s called Dragoncard, and it’s the new Visa debit card that you’ll be able to use to make purchases at the supermarket with Bitcoin. Great Britain has decided to simplify the conversion of cryptocurrency into pound sterling to allow intrepid investors to easily buy their basic needs with their digital earnings.
The start-up London Block Exchange (LBX) connects Dragoncard to an app that can instantly convert cryptocurrency into pounds. When a customer makes a purchase, the shopkeeper will be paid in pounds and the amount will be deducted from the user’s electronic portfolio, converting the cryptocurrency at the current market rate, plus the app’s fee of 0.5%. However, London Block Exchange can also manage exchanges with other digital currencies like ethereum, ripple, litecoin and monero.
It’s likely that in the not too distant future, this new start-up will have to start managing the exchange of ripple more concisely and meticulously. Because with the equivalent of around 85 billion dollars, it’s one of the most promising cryptocurrencies of the last few months – just before Christmas it was worth 29 billion.
Online shopping: Click & Collect
But coming in first place as the area of the biggest development, is online shopping, and click and collect will soon become the dominant form of it. Today, about 25% of all shops offer the service. KPMG estimates that nearly 75% of shoppers will use the service in 2018 to avoid delivery charges. The International Council of Shopping Centers discovered that 61% of shoppers that use click and collect come into the shop and make additional purchases. From this, we can deduce that shopping lovers want more than a faceless experiences. They want to establish a relationship of trust with their supermarket.