Bricks and mortar stores have to work hard to compete with online shopping, and one way of doing this is to use technology to create a great in-store experience.
Technology can be used in various ways: for experiential purposes, to appeal to mobile users, increase convenience for shoppers, or to promote a retailer's online presence.
I compiled 11 examples of in-store tech last year, but time moves on quickly in this business, so here are 12 more...
In this example, from teamLab, virtual mannequins are triggered by customers removing a hanger from the rail. Customers can then see models in their chosen garment.
American Apparel / AR
American Apparel, with help from the Vuforia app, has been used augmented reality at the point of sale to unlock a range of options.
These include viewing product reviews, watching videos, and ordering online.
It's a good way to enhance the in-store experience and appeal to mobile users, though you do need customers to download the app first.
Casino in France has introduced NFC in a big way. Customers can use their smartphones to access information on products and pricing via NFC-enabled shelf edge labels, and scan add items to their basket.
When they're done shopping, they can quickly pay for their items by tapping their phone on a reader attached to the cash register.
Tesco scan as you shop
This is now appearing in some of the larger Tesco stores, and it can be very useful.
Using your clubcard details, you pick up the handset and scan items, then scan as you add items to your trolley. In theory, this speeds the process up, but you still have to wait to catch an assistant's attention if you want to buy some booze...
Still, it's useful to keep a running total of costs, and handy for entertaining kids as you do your grocery shopping.
M&S browse and order hubs
These hubs allow users to browse the catalogue or scan barcodes on items and explore product information. Customers can choose to order on the device and collect at a later date or have the product delivered.
These touch screen devices resemble huge iPhones and come with a card payment machine.
Samsung experience store
This flagship store in Singapore is all about experiential retail. For example, customers' movements in front of the video wall are digitized and projected for effect, while it has a coffee store operated via an app, and themed zones throughout the store. Very swish.
M&S virtual rail
M&S is keen to innovate with in-store tech, and so we have our second example from the retailer.
According to our own Ben Davis:
This is an all singing, all dancing version of the browse and order hub, the virtual rail has only demoed in Amsterdam so far, but I had the pleasure of using one at M&S HQ. Surprisingly, it works very very well for an outsized piece of tech. The floor to head height screen is touch-enabled and one can swipe through the catalogue looking for outfit inspiration.
Videos play on the rail, too, and it will recommend matches to items you have scanned or selected. It’s sort of like an incredibly sophisticated Mr Potato Head.
Nordstrom shows top pinned items in store
Nice use of social proof in store from Nordstrom here.
Macy's and iBeacons
The famous US store has been experimenting with iBeacons. In this trial, customers who enter the store with the Shopkick app installed on their iPhones will be alerted about deals and items they may be interested in.
While there is a risk of annoying shoppers, this kind of precision marketing could be very effective.
Debenhams Oxford St
Debenhams recently unveiled its £25m flagship store in London's Oxford Street, replete with lots of technology, including video screens, and kiosks for in-store ordering.
KIKO digital signage
KIKO uses a digital ceiling to attract attention from passing trade.
Topshop virtual reality catwalk show
Topshop has adopted digital with gusto, and has used tech and social in store regularly, such as its 'Wish you were at Topshop?' campaign.
The latest use of technology was to live stream a virtual reality (VR) 'experience' of its London Fashion Week show. Customers could use VR headsets to experience the show in 360 degrees.
What examples have you seen of use of digital and web technology in stores? Please add yours in the comments...