Fretting over your holiday shopping? ‘Tis the season! Thankfully, Nike and CoverGirl are paying close attention to consumers’ needs and have opened 2 new retail stores in New York City in the past week. We were some of the first people to check them out! These tech-forward retail solutions sport major enhancements to the traditional shopping experience and provide insight into what is next.  

Nike’s House of Innovation: Nike has coined the term “phygital” – a mix of physical and digital – to describe what it believes to be the optimal retail experience of the future. Nike employs technology mainly to provide a more seamless, efficient, and stress-free shopping experience for customers, with features like reservation lockers (shoppers can reserve items in advance to try on in-store) and instant checkout booths on each floor.  

CoverGirl’s Flagship: CoverGirl’s first venture into physical retail is the latest example of traditional brands expanding into brick-and-mortar to connect directly with consumers. This trend comes as D2C-centric entrants continue to gain momentum across various industries and as consumer data collection becomes increasingly vital. The Flagship uses technology to create a more memorable branded experience, encouraging consumers to interact with the brand and its products in new ways. ‘Instagrammable’ elements throughout the store, such as a photo/video booth, trendy décor, and branded makeup stations drive home these efforts.

While the two flagship stores are vastly different, several underlying trends exist that give us a glimpse into what the future of retail holds.

Technology’s role in bringing consumers a step closer to a brand’s new products (pun intended)

 Nike

Nike’s 3D printed sneakers are not only tech-forward, but also built to enhance the performance of some of the world’s top athletes. Each part of the shoe is distinctly designed to be aerodynamic, lightweight, and weatherproof.

CoverGirl

CoverGirl’s AR makeup station features the brand’s notable 40-shade foundation among other products and lets customers virtually try on as many products and shades as they want, simply by touching the item so it projects on their face in the mirrored screen.

Information via connected devices

 Nike

Customers can unlock preferred experiences throughout the store by becoming Nike members and using the Nike app. Users can scan outfit QR codes to get additional info, try on, and purchase various products, as well as scan for entry into the members-only sneaker room where limited edition sneakers are showcased.

CoverGirl

Olivia, the virtual greeter, is the first thing customers see when they walk in the store. She introduces herself, asks personalized questions, and gives info about products. She’s currently being programmed to speak multiple languages.

Customization & Personalization

 Nike

Nike has a full floor dedicated to customization and takes appointments for 1-on-1 design sessions with the pros. Every two weeks, a new shoe style inspired by a sponsored athlete and designed by an artist is released for customers to further personalize.

CoverGirl

CoverGirl has a customization station for users to create their own lipsticks and makeup pouches, both of which are made in the store within 15 minutes of purchase. There are also stylists onsite to provide makeover services and personal product recommendations.

How else will tech play a role in the retail space? Here are the top startups on our radar that are shaping the future of retail.

Emotive – Emotive creates one-of-a-kind immersive shopping experiences for brands that incorporate interactive POS displays with new multi-sensory media.

Leap – Leap offers “retail-as-a-service,” thus making it easier than ever for brands to expand into physical retail. The Chicago startup is truly full-service, managing leases, financial commitments, staffing, operations, in-store design, and tech integrations for brands.

Omni Self-Checkout – Omni Self-Checkout’s mobile app allows consumers to scan and purchase in-store items on the spot with a virtual security check that verifies and processes the purchase. 

Want insight into the top startups and emerging technologies to drive your business forward? Join us at CES 2019, where we will be hosting curated, private startup pitch sessions and guided tours on the global startup floor. Contact us to learn more.

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About VentureFuel, Inc.

VentureFuel helps companies around the world unlock growth by partnering with startups and breakthrough technologies. Our innovation programs solve specific challenges, deliver tangible results and discover first-to-market opportunities from the Museum of Ice Cream to the latest pioneering technologies. We are 100% independent, sourcing from our global network of the best investors, scouts, founders and academics to find only what has sustainable and scalable impact for our clients. Learn more at: www.venturefuel.net

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