Tag Archives: retail

Reinventing the Retail Store

Online orders are increasingly fulfilled through stores, making retailers much more efficient and competitive

Reinventing the Retail Store

GUEST POST from Howard Tiersky

I’ve worked with a lot of online retailers over the years, and a frequent question I’ve received is, “When you have physical stores and you also have an online presence, where should you be shipping goods from?”

In the early days, a lot of retailers were trying to ship from their stores because that’s where the merchandise was.

Further, these retailers didn’t necessarily have the infrastructure or process in their warehouses to ship directly to the consumer. Their warehouses were just for shipping goods to the store.

But when e-commerce started to take off in a major way and orders jumped, those retailers that we’d think of as traditional large brick and mortar stores started to do the vast majority of their e-commerce shipping from centralized distribution centers, so much so that some actually had quite different inventory from their stores.

As a result, there was a period where chains were shipping from centralized distribution centers for the most part.

In some cases, these chains didn’t even expose you to what was available in the store when ordering online.


After that, retailers started trying to show us alternatives.

“Buy online, pick up in the store” became increasingly prevalent, with retailers creating more integrated systems that allow us to see the online merchandise that may not be available in the store, as well as the store merchandise that might not be available online.

Some of the merchandise was available in both places, and you could at least see the full universe through these systems.

You would know if an item was carried in the retailers’ stores, then you could find out if your local store had it, buy it online, and arrange to pick it up there.

Once retailers got to that point, it became more and more logical to have the store ship at least some merchandise out, as they did in the early days.

And today, we’re seeing even more shipping from stores because e-commerce orders that are “order online, pick up in the store” have risen substantially with Covid.

With more and more orders being fulfilled this way, it’s imperative that stores are able to handle e-commerce effectively.


In fact, Best Buy reported recently that 60% of their e-commerce orders are either buy online, pick up in store or buy online, pick up curbside.

More than half of their online orders are not only being fulfilled through the store, but they’re actually being physically picked up at the store.

As physical retailers continue their effort to compete with Amazon, they realize that one of the assets that they have that Amazon does not have at that scale is a physical store location.

It makes sense to use this shift as an opportunity to either make it convenient to pick up items that are ordered online or even start to use stores as distribution hubs to permit faster delivery for items that are ordered to the home.

In their recent announcement, Best Buy also reported that of their thousand stores, they have designated 250 of them as distribution hubs.

This means that they will be using those stores not only as physical showrooms but also as fulfillment centers for e-commerce orders.

So if you order something on the Best Buy website, it’s increasingly likely to come from the back room of your local Best Buy.


This shift is interesting because it’s not just Best Buy—we’re seeing it across the industry.

And when you have a lot of retailers repurposing their physical locations as e-commerce hubs, there are bound to be greater implications.

For one, this change is going to affect store design, as stores will need larger storage areas and shipping facilities.

As a result, the ratio of the back of the store to the front of the store will probably shift.

It may also make a shift in terms of how stores think about real estate.

A location that may not have been viable due to a lack of foot traffic may all of a sudden make sense if it’s in a convenient spot for pickup or in a central location that allows online orders to be distributed to a large geographic area.

In focusing more and more on fulfilling orders through their store locations, Best Buy may see additional, industry-specific benefits.

In the electronic space, we know that there are a lot of SKUs, and it’s hard to keep some items on stock, particularly the ones that are popular.

The opportunity to leverage not only the inventory at a warehouse or distribution center but all the inventory sitting in their stores expands Best Buy’s ability to provide a great customer experience.

Today’s top retailers are making sure that if they’ve got that new iPhone, or camera lens, or obscure cable, or whatever it is that you’re looking for anywhere in their ecosystem, they are going to find a way to get it to you one way or the other.

This article originally appeared on the Howard Tiersky blog
Image Credit: Unsplash

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What Pundits Always Get Wrong About the Future

What Pundits Always Get Wrong About the Future

GUEST POST from Greg Satell

Peter Thiel likes to point out that we wanted flying cars, but got 140 characters instead. He’s only partly right. For decades futuristic visions showed everyday families zipping around in flying cars and it’s true that even today we’re still stuck on the ground. Yet that’s not because we’re unable to build one. In fact the first was invented in 1934.

The problem is not so much with engineering, but economics, safety and convenience. We could build a flying car if we wanted to, but to make one that can compete with regular cars is another matter entirely. Besides, in many ways, 140 characters are better than a flying car. Cars only let us travel around town, the Internet helps us span the globe.

That has created far more value than a flying car ever could. We often fail to predict the future accurately because we don’t account for our capacity to surprise ourselves, to see new possibilities and take new directions. We interact with each other, collaborate and change our priorities. The future that we predict is never as exciting as the one we eventually create.

1. The Future Will Not Look Like The Past

We tend to predict the future by extrapolating from the present. So if we invent a car and then an airplane, it only seems natural that we can combine the two. If family has a car, then having one that flies can seem like a logical next step. We don’t look at a car and dream up, say, a computer. So in 1934, we dreamed of flying cars, but not computers.

It’s not just optimists that fall prey to this fundamental error, but pessimists too. In Homo Deus, author and historian Yuval Noah Harari points to several studies that show that human jobs are being replaced by machines. He then paints a dystopian picture. “Humans might become militarily and economically useless,” he writes. Yeesh!

Yet the picture is not as dark as it may seem. Consider the retail apocalypse. Over the past few years, we’ve seen an unprecedented number of retail store closings. Those jobs are gone and they’re not coming back. You can imagine thousands of retail employees sitting at home, wondering how to pay their bills, just as Harari predicts.

Yet economist Michael Mandel argues that the data tell a very different story. First, he shows that the jobs gained from e-commerce far outstrip those lost from traditional retail. Second, he points out that the total e-commerce sector, including lower-wage fulfillment centers, has an average wage of $21.13 per hour, which is 27 percent higher than the $16.65 that the average worker in traditional retail earns.

So not only are more people working, they are taking home more money too. Not only is the retail apocalypse not a tragedy, it’s somewhat of a blessing.

2. The Next Big Thing Always Starts Out Looking Like Nothing At All

Every technology eventually hits theoretical limits. Buy a computer today and you’ll find that the technical specifications are much like they were five years ago. When a new generation of iPhones comes out these days, reviewers tout the camera rather than the processor speed. The truth is that Moore’s law is effectively over.

That seems tragic, because our ability to exponentially increase the number of transistors that we can squeeze onto a silicon wafer has driven technological advancement over the past few decades. Every 18 months or so, a new generation of chips has come out and opened up new possibilities that entrepreneurs have turned into exciting new businesses.

What will we do now?

Yet there’s no real need to worry. There is no 11th commandment that says, “Thou shalt compute with ones and zeros” and the end of Moore’s law will give way to newer, more powerful technologies, like quantum and neuromorphic computing. These are still in their nascent stage and may not have an impact for at least five to ten years, but will likely power the future for decades to come.

The truth is that the next big thing always starts out looking like nothing at all. Einstein never thought that his work would have a practical impact during his lifetime. When Alexander Fleming first discovered penicillin, nobody noticed. In much the same way, the future is not digital. So what? It will be even better!

3. It’s Ecosystems, Not Inventions, That Drive The Future

When the first automobiles came to market, they were called “horseless carriages” because that’s what everyone knew and was familiar with. So it seemed logical that people would use them much like they used horses, to take the occasional trip into town and to work in the fields. Yet it didn’t turn out that way, because driving a car is nothing like riding a horse.

So first people started taking “Sunday drives” to relax and see family and friends, something that would be too tiring to do regularly on a horse. Gas stations and paved roads changed how products were distributed and factories moved from cities in the north, close to customers, to small towns in the south, where land and labor were cheaper.

As the ability to travel increased, people started moving out of cities and into suburbs. When consumers could easily load a week’s worth of groceries into their cars, corner stores gave way to supermarkets and, eventually, shopping malls. The automobile changed a lot more than simply how we got from place to place. It changed our way of life in ways that were impossible to predict.

Look at other significant technologies, such as electricity and computers, and you find a similar story. It’s ecosystems, rather than inventions, that drive the future.

4. We Can Only Validate Patterns Going Forward

G. H. Hardy once wrote that, “a mathematician, like a painter or poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas.” Futurists often work the same way, identifying patterns in the past and present, then extrapolating them into the future. Yet there is a substantive difference between patterns that we consider to be preordained and those that are to be discovered.

Think about Steve Jobs and Apple for a minute and you will probably recognize the pattern and assume I misspelled the name of his iconic company by forgetting to include the “e” at the end. But I could have just have easily been about to describe an “Applet” he designed for the iPhone or some connection between Jobs and Appleton WI, a small town outside Green Bay.

The point is that we can only validate patterns going forward, never backward. That, in essence, is what Steve Blank means when he says that business plans rarely survive first contact with customers and why his ideas about lean startups are changing the world. We need to be careful about the patterns we think we see. Some are meaningful. Others are not.

The problem with patterns is that future is something we create, not some preordained plan that we are beholden to. The things we create often become inflection points and change our course. That may frustrate the futurists, but it’s what makes life exciting for the rest of us.

— Article courtesy of the Digital Tonto blog and previously appeared on Inc.com
— Image credit: Pixabay

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Three Ways Technology Improves the Retail Customer Experience

Three Ways Technology Improves the Retail Customer Experience

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

E-commerce hasn’t killed retail—it’s just transformed it.

For years we’ve been hearing that retail is dead, and the rash of store closures in cities across the country would seem to confirm the trend. The local mall no longer serves as a de facto community hub, if it’s even stayed open at all.

Given what we think we know, would it surprise you to learn that retail sales in 2021 were actually up more than 10% over the previous year, topping $4.44 trillion? Although fears of recession loom, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that both personal income and consumer spending continued to rise in June. And while e-commerce may be an unstoppable force, much of this consumer spending is still happening in brick-and-mortar stores.

That said, there’s no question that the retail experience is changing—and must continue to change. E-commerce growth and tech developments, in general, have transformed customer expectations. I always advise my clients to meet customers where they are, and where retail shoppers are right now is standing in an aisle, smartphone in hand, comparing prices and reading online reviews. Technology has become an integral part of the retail experience, and retailers would be fools to ignore that.

Luckily, they aren’t fools. Whether saving their customers time or offering them unique experiences, retailers are incorporating technology to improve the customer experience. Here are three ways they’re doing it:

1. Smart Screens Digitize the In-Store Experience – You probably remember the first time you went to fill your soda cup at your favorite fast-casual spot and found yourself facing a dizzying digital array of fountain soda choices. Smart screens are on the march, and they’re not just in restaurants anymore.

Clothing retailers are using touchscreens to help customers build their wardrobes, while furniture stores use similar tech to let shoppers design rooms in their homes. Smart screens can offer retail customers what they love about online shopping—plentiful product information, eye-catching photos and on-the-spot promotions—in an in-store setting.

Consider the cooler aisle at Walgreens, where high-resolution smart screens from Cooler Screens have transformed the drugstore chain’s fridge and freezer doors. Shoppers no longer have to brave an icy blast—they can see the beverages and frozen treats inside at a glance without even opening the door. Plus, they can get calorie counts and take advantage of instant deals—and soon will also see customer ratings and reviews.

Data showed that 90% of Walgreens customers prefer the new smart screen cooler doors to the traditional kind. For retailers looking to bridge the online/in-store gap, smart screens present the opportunity to both accomplish some point-of-sale digital marketing and enhance the customer experience.

2. Click-and-Collect Services Save Time – Another way retailers are meeting their customers’ hybrid shopping expectations is by beefing up their click-and-collect capabilities. Buying items online and picking them up in person offers consumers the best of both shopping worlds. They can browse a store’s product selection on their desktop or phone, and once their order is assembled, there’s no wait or shipping expense. Curbside pickup goes one better by allowing people to order products online and pick them up without stepping foot in the store.

I admit it’s not rocket science, but I believe that high-quality customer service depends on listening to what customers want, and many of them clearly value this hassle-free shopping experience. The 2022 Click-and-Collect Forecast shows that U.S. buyers will spend $95.87 billion via click-and-collect this year, a 19.4% increase over 2021. Retailers that expand their click-and-collect offerings stand to increase revenue by giving customers more of what they want.

Enabling this experience requires an up-to-date e-commerce website that’s optimized for mobile. Furthermore, retailers will need to achieve seamless integration between their online shopping platforms and on-the-ground operations. Many are already adapting by adding more parking spaces for click-and-collect customers and hiring more personal shoppers to gather orders.

3. Self-Service Improves Convenience – Another thing the e-commerce revolution has changed is customers’ expectations of self-service. From product page to shopping cart to checkout, the typical online shopping experience is a solo affair. While a retail store offers the possibility of assistance from a real person, many shoppers would rather take care of themselves. Smart retailers are using tech to let them.

Digital self-service kiosks help in-store shoppers get their bearings, look up product information, scan prices and see whether the item they want is in stock—and order it on the spot if it’s not. Retailers’ mobile apps enable customers to locate products, read reviews, compare prices and pounce on in-store discounts. By offering the right tech assistance, retailers give their customers a sense of control.

When customers think of self-service, self-checkout is usually the first thing that comes to mind, but even that is evolving. Going beyond the usual “Scan your first item and put it in the bag,” Amazon has launched fully autonomous checkouts. In its Amazon Go stores, customers scan a barcode going in and get charged electronically for purchased items as they leave. Instead of making customers do more work, Amazon employs its “Just Walk Out” technology to make customers’ lives easier and the retail experience friction-free.

Technology has greatly impacted people’s lives, and the retail setting is no exception. Retailers that use tech to improve the customer experience will see increased profit and customer satisfaction. Research has shown that experiences increase happiness more than things, so retailers that can provide both are setting themselves up for success.

This article originally appeared on Forbes

Image Credit: Shep Hyken

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How Augmented Reality is Transforming Retail Customer Experiences

How Augmented Reality is Transforming Retail Customer Experiences

GUEST POST from Chateau G Pato

Augmented Reality (AR), with its ability to overlay digital information onto the physical world, has emerged as a game-changer for the retail industry. By blending the real and virtual worlds, this technology has transformed traditional shopping experiences into digitally immersive journeys. AR has the potential to captivate customers, increase brand engagement, and ultimately influence purchasing decisions. Let’s explore a couple of captivating case studies that demonstrate the power of augmented reality in shaping the future of retail.

Case Study 1: IKEA Place

Swedish furniture giant IKEA has long been at the forefront of innovation in the retail industry. In 2017, they introduced IKEA Place, an augmented reality app that allows customers to virtually furnish their homes. With the help of AR, customers can visualize how different IKEA products would look and fit in their living spaces before making a purchase.

The app utilizes the camera on a smartphone or tablet to scan the room and place true-to-scale 3D models of furniture products in real-time. This enables customers to see how different items match their existing décor and how they fit spatially. The experience is incredibly immersive, giving customers a sense of confidence in their purchasing decisions.

The success of IKEA Place lies in its ability to bridge the gap between imagining how furniture would look and actually seeing it in a physical space. By incorporating augmented reality, IKEA has transformed their customers’ shopping experiences, providing them with a powerful tool that enhances decision-making and reduces the chances of post-purchase disappointment.

Case Study 2: Sephora Virtual Artist

Sephora, a leading beauty retailer, understands that trying on makeup can sometimes be a daunting and time-consuming task for customers. To address this issue, they launched the Sephora Virtual Artist app, which uses augmented reality to allow customers to try on various makeup products virtually.

The app incorporates facial recognition technology to map the user’s face and then overlay different makeup products, such as lipstick, eyeshadow, or foundation, giving customers an instant preview of their appearance. Users can experiment with different colors and products, enabling them to discover new styles and confident choices.

Sephora’s Virtual Artist empowers customers by providing them with a risk-free, interactive platform to experiment with different looks without making any physical changes to their appearance. By successfully incorporating augmented reality, Sephora not only enhances the customer experience but also boosts digital engagement and increases the likelihood of personalized purchases.

The Future of AR in Retail

These two case studies highlight how augmented reality is revolutionizing the retail industry by redefining customer experiences. AR technology has the potential to erase doubts and uncertainties associated with purchasing decisions, empowering customers with more confidence and reducing product returns. Additionally, AR enhances brand engagement by offering an interactive and immersive shopping experience, ultimately creating a stronger emotional connection between the customer and the brand.

As AR technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more innovative retail applications. From virtual fitting rooms to personalized product recommendations based on augmented reality experiences, the possibilities are endless. Augmented reality is undeniably reshaping the retail landscape, and retailers who embrace this technology will gain a competitive edge by offering their customers more memorable and meaningful experiences.

SPECIAL BONUS: The very best change planners use a visual, collaborative approach to create their deliverables. A methodology and tools like those in Change Planning Toolkit™ can empower anyone to become great change planners themselves.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Innovating Customer Engagement

Design Thinking in the Retail Industry

Innovating Customer Engagement

GUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

In today’s competitive retail landscape, delivering exceptional customer engagement has become a critical component of success. Design thinking, an iterative problem-solving approach that focuses on understanding customers’ needs, has emerged as a powerful tool for driving innovation in the retail industry. By employing design thinking principles, retailers can re-imagine the customer experience, forge deeper connections, and achieve sustainable growth. This article explores the application of design thinking in the retail industry, highlighting its transformative potential through two compelling case studies.

Case Study 1: Apple Store

Apple’s iconic retail stores have been widely acclaimed for their innovative design and seamless customer experience. By applying design thinking principles, Apple revolutionized the concept of retail shopping, blending technology, customer-centricity, and immersive engagement. The company understood that customers’ shopping preferences had evolved, wherein they sought not just products but also a personalized experience. With this insight, Apple designed their stores to be more than mere transactional spaces; they became forums for creativity, learning, and community building.

Apple’s use of design thinking is evident in the layout of its stores. By placing products on tables at ideal browsing height, customers are encouraged to pick up and interact with them freely. The design language incorporates simplicity and minimalism, allowing customers to focus solely on the products and their user experience. Additionally, Apple Store employees, known as “Geniuses,” utilize empathetic communication and expert knowledge to guide customers through their purchasing journey, further enhancing engagement.

By adopting design thinking principles, Apple effectively transformed its stores into inviting, educational, and experiential spaces. Consequently, customers don’t simply buy Apple products; they engage with the brand, explore its ecosystem, and benefit from the unique experience the store offers.

Case Study 2: Nike

Nike, the global sporting goods giant, has successfully integrated design thinking to redefine the way customers interact with their brand. Recognizing that athletes consider their shoes not just as products, but as tools for enhancing performance and expressing their identity, Nike embarked on an innovation journey driven by customer empathy.

One standout example of Nike’s design thinking approach is their NikeID customization platform. By emphasizing customer co-creation, Nike empowered customers to design their own footwear, resulting in personalized, one-of-a-kind products. This initiative enabled Nike to tap into customers’ desire for self-expression, fostering deeper connections and enhancing brand loyalty.

Furthermore, Nike engaged in extensive ethnographic research to uncover athletes’ specific needs and pain points. Armed with these insights, Nike launched the Nike+ Run Club, a mobile app that offers personalized training plans, tracks performance, and provides a supportive digital community. By blending technology, design, and data-driven insights, Nike effectively created an ecosystem catering to athletes’ multifaceted needs, revolutionizing the way they engage with the brand.


The retail industry’s rapid evolution necessitates innovative approaches to customer engagement. Design thinking, with its human-centric principles, serves as a powerful catalyst in this regard, enabling retailers to re-imagine the customer experience. Through the case studies of Apple and Nike, we witness how design thinking has transformed retail giants into facilitators of exceptional experiences, driving customer engagement to new heights. By adopting design thinking methodologies, retailers in the ever-evolving retail landscape can revolutionize their approach, fostering deep customer connections, and positioning themselves as industry leaders.

Bottom line: Futurology is not fortune telling. Futurists use a scientific approach to create their deliverables, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to engage in futurology themselves.

Image credit: misterinnovation.com

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The Future of Retail

E-commerce, Augmented Reality, and Personalized Experiences

The Future of Retail: E-commerce, Augmented Reality, and Personalized Experiences

GUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

The retail industry has seen significant transformations in recent years, and these changes are only going to accelerate in the future. As consumers increasingly turn to online shopping, retailers are finding new ways to engage their audience, provide enhanced experiences, and stay relevant in a digital age. Two case studies highlight the impact of e-commerce, augmented reality, and personalized experiences on the future of retail.

Case Study 1: Amazon Go

In 2018, e-commerce giant Amazon introduced Amazon Go, a cashier-less grocery store. This innovative concept allows customers to simply walk in, grab the items they need, and leave. Powered by a combination of computer vision, machine learning, and sensor technology, Amazon Go tracks customers’ selections and automatically charges their account, eliminating the need for cash registers or checkouts.

The introduction of Amazon Go showcases the potential of e-commerce to revolutionize the retail experience. By removing friction points in traditional shopping, such as waiting in line, Amazon Go provides customers with convenience and saves them precious time. Moreover, the technology-driven store gathers valuable data on customer behavior, enabling Amazon to further personalize its offerings and enhance the shopping experience.

Case Study 2: Warby Parker

Warby Parker, an online eyewear retailer, has successfully integrated augmented reality (AR) into its business model. Using AR technology, customers can virtually try on glasses using their smartphone or computer camera. This innovative approach eliminates the need for physical try-ons and allows customers to see how the glasses fit and look on their face in real-time.

The introduction of AR in the retail industry demonstrates the power of virtual experiences to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping. By leveraging AR, Warby Parker provides customers with a personalized and interactive shopping experience. This technology-driven approach not only enhances customer satisfaction and confidence in their purchase decisions but also reduces return rates, resulting in cost savings for the retailer.

Looking Ahead

The future of retail lies in the seamless integration of e-commerce, augmented reality, and personalized experiences. With the rise of technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and Internet of Things, the possibilities in retail are endless. Here are a few predictions for what lies ahead:

1. Personalized Product Recommendations: As retailers gather more data on customer preferences and behaviors, they will be able to offer personalized product recommendations, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

2. Enhanced In-Store Experiences: Physical stores will leverage AR and VR technologies to create immersive experiences, enabling customers to interact with products in new and exciting ways.

3. Voice Commerce: With the proliferation of voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, voice commerce will become more prevalent. Customers will be able to make purchases, ask for recommendations, and receive personalized offers using voice commands.


The future of retail is undoubtedly evolving towards e-commerce, augmented reality, and personalized experiences. Retailers who embrace these technologies stand to gain a competitive advantage by providing enhanced convenience, personalization, and engagement to their customers. By examining successful case studies like Amazon Go and Warby Parker, we can see the immense potential and exciting possibilities that lie ahead for the retail industry.

Bottom line: Futures research is not fortune telling. Futurists use a scientific approach to create their deliverables, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to engage in futures research themselves.

Image credit: Unsplash

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The Future of Retail: Experiential Shopping and Personalized Experiences

The Future of Retail: Experiential Shopping and Personalized Experiences

GUEST POST from Chateau G Pato

The retail industry is constantly evolving, and recent years have seen a significant shift towards experiential shopping and personalized experiences. In an era where e-commerce is dominating, retailers have realized the importance of creating unique and memorable experiences that cannot be replicated online. By incorporating technology, customization, and interactive elements, retailers are re-imagining the traditional shopping experience and connecting with customers on a deeper level.

One of the key drivers behind the rise of experiential shopping is the desire for authenticity and connection. Customers no longer want to simply buy a product; they want to feel a genuine connection with the brand and the story behind it. This shift is evident in the success of retail spaces that prioritize storytelling and create immersive experiences for customers.

Case Study 1 – Samsung 837 Store

A prime example of this is the Samsung 837 store in New York City. Rather than being a traditional retail store, Samsung 837 is a three-story experience center that showcases the brand’s latest products and innovations. Customers are invited to interact with and test out the products in various experiential zones, such as the Virtual Reality Tunnel and the 4D VR Theater. Additionally, the store hosts regular events, workshops, and performances, creating a sense of community and excitement around the brand. By focusing on creating an immersive and interactive experience, Samsung has successfully transformed the traditional retail space into a destination that customers actively seek out.

Case Study 2 – Nike Flagship Store

Another successful case study in experiential shopping is the Nike flagship store in New York City’s Soho neighborhood. The store features a range of interactive elements that engage customers and encourage them to personalize their shopping experience. For example, the Nike By You Studio allows customers to design and customize their own sneakers, creating a one-of-a-kind product that is unique to them. The store also includes a Nike+ Trial Zone, where customers can test out products on an indoor basketball court, a soccer field, or a treadmill. These interactive experiences not only create a memorable shopping experience for customers but also allow them to engage with the brand in a deeper and more meaningful way.

Personalization is another key aspect of the future of retail. With advances in technology, retailers can now collect and analyze vast amounts of customer data, allowing them to tailor the shopping experience to individual preferences and needs. This personalized approach not only enhances the customer experience but also increases customer loyalty and drives sales.

Amazon is a prime example of a retailer that has successfully leveraged personalization in its shopping experience. Its recommendation engine analyzes a customer’s browsing and purchase history to provide personalized product recommendations. Additionally, Amazon’s Dash Buttons enable customers to quickly reorder commonly used items with the push of a button. By understanding and anticipating customer needs, Amazon has created a seamless and personalized shopping experience that keeps customers coming back.


The future of retail lies in experiential shopping and personalized experiences. By creating immersive and interactive spaces, retailers can forge genuine connections with customers and create a sense of excitement and community. Additionally, by leveraging customer data and technology, retailers can personalize the shopping experience and cater to individual preferences. As the retail landscape continues to evolve, it is clear that the traditional shopping experience is being transformed into a holistic and personalized journey.

Bottom line: Futurology is not fortune telling. Futurists use a scientific approach to create their deliverables, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to engage in futurology themselves.

Image credit: Pexels

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Innovation or Not – Amazon One

Amazon One Biometric Payments

I came across another payments-related invention that Amazon is releasing into the wild. Yes, it is based around biometrics, but before you start getting all freaked out, it doesn’t use an implanted RFID chip or even facial recognition. No, Amazon One as it is referred to, connects a scan of your palm to your phone number and your credit card.

Once you’ve set this up at one of the Amazon Go stores currently piloting the technology, you’re all ready to go. From that point forward you can enter the Amazon Go store by hovering your palm above the reader and then use your palm on the way out to pay (and receive your receipt by text message I assume).

While you can connect your palm to your Amazon account so you can track purchase history, you don’t have to. Your palm scan is encrypted and stored in the cloud for future use.

Still not sure how it works?

Check out this explainer video:

The tagline for the service gives you an idea of the third party applications that Amazon hopes to pursue with this technology:

“Enter, identify and pay with Amazon One.”

So, what do you think? Innovation or not?

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Just Walk Out Groceries — by Amazon

Just Walk Out Groceries -- by Amazon

Amazon Go is going big – grocery store big. Today it was revealed that Amazon has opened up a new Amazon Go that is four times (4x) bigger than previous Amazon Go stores. What’s new?

Well, this new Amazon Go store has produce, packaged meats, an expanded frozen food section, sundries like paper towels, and more!

This is a big step forward for Amazon and will be stretching its technology to the breaking point as Amazon looks not only to explore what’s possible, but to prove its technology to the point where its collection of technology could become another revenue pillar that it can build by licensing its technology to other convenience store and grocery store chains.

The Amazon Go approach, should it expand, also puts even more of the 3 million grocery store jobs in the United States at risk. This 3 million jobs number is already declining because of self checkout and Walmart’s robotic inventory systems, among other pressures.

Is the Amazon Go approach a good thing?

Do we really all want to live in a world where packages show up at the door or food can be obtained in a grocery store without talking to anyone?

Americans are becoming increasingly lonely and isolated. I could include dozens of supporting links to back this up, but here is a good one:


The grocery store has become one of the last remaining places where someone will actually speak to you, but self checkout and technologies like Amazon Go look to stamp out this human interaction too!

But even though there are still humans in the grocery store, the level of human interaction seems to be fading there too as younger, non-unionized workers replace older unionized workers in grocery stores. Has this been your experience?

What’s next the barbershop and the hairdresser?

And can our society survive any more isolation?

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Who is the Innovator? Amazon or Kroger?

Kroger ClickList

Now, first of all, Kroger is a Cincinnati-based company not a Seattle-based company, so it is only natural that I should hear more about the things Amazon is experimenting with than those of Kroger, owners of a portfolio of grocery brands, including: Ralphs, Fred Meyer, QFC, Kroger, fry’s, Food4Less, King Soopers, Harris Teeter, and more.

Amazon has been making a lot of noise with some of their experiments lately, including a convenience store concept where eventually you will be able to pick up what you want to buy and then automatically be charged for your acquisitions on the way out the door. It is called Amazon go and is currently being tested in an employees-only store. Here is what it looks like:

And then of course Amazon has been experimenting with the last mile experience in grocery retailing for a while now with Amazon Fresh grocery delivery business in a few U.S. states along with London, Berlin, and Tokyo. Now they are also experimenting with a grocery pickup service. You can pickup your groceries in as little as 15 minutes after ordering. It’s available exclusively for Prime members in a testing phase beginning in Seattle.

Now, the past couple of weeks I’ve been noticing at one of my local Fred Meyer’s and one of the neighborhood QFC’s some workers doing some construction projects and I wasn’t sure exactly what they were up to, but today it became clear that they’ve been busy prepping for to enable Kroger ClickList at those locations, which is basically the same thing as AmazonFresh Pickup, EXCEPT that Kroger started doing this TWO YEARS AGO and scaled it to 500 locations in less than 17 months. If you’re curious, here is what Kroger CLickList looks like:

And yes, Walmart, not to be outdone, also has a grocery pickup service as well (which they started a little over a year ago).

For what it’s worth, if these companies were to combine this service with improved ready-to-eat meal offerings like we used to regularly utilize from Waitrose and Tesco so that people can pickup their groceries and a dinner they can eat right when they get home and this will really catch on. Now for those of you who haven’t experienced ready meals in the UK, then check out the following links to get a tastier idea:

Waitrose Ready Meals
Tesco Ready Meals

Waitrose Lasagne

So, Amazon is getting a lot of buzz around their Amazon Go and AmazonFresh Pickup experiments, but they are just that at this point. Meanwhile, Kroger and Walmart have already scaled some of these experiments, so who is the innovator here?

Just another reminder that anyone can innovate, that it is customer insight not technology that drives innovation, and that every company is a technology company whether they like it or not.

Keep innovating!

Innovation Audit from Braden Kelley

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