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...

Virtual mannequins

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. 

NFC-compatible supermarket

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...

Graham Charlton

Published 27 February, 2014 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is editor in chief at SaleCycle, and former editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (8)

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Fabio Molle

check out what we did to bring our in store customers into our online world

over 4 years ago

Pete Williams

Pete Williams, Managing Director at Gibe Digital

Ourselves and Quba & Co won last years award for Ecommerce Innovation for an online and in-store customise your jacket app. Team members help customers use the app on I-pads and guide them where necessary to help them create a jacket which is completely unique to them. for more details an a video

over 4 years ago



In the stores we use for the company I work with, we use Magic Mirrows in the changing rooms.

It allows people who are trying on their clothes to share a picture of their outfit by email/social media, but also supper impose pictures of other items ontop of what they're already wearing.

over 4 years ago


Jessica Box

IE Agency, based in Melbourne Australia, have been working with the latest experiential technology. We've created many products similar to the above, that have delivered successful experiences for our client's customers.

IE Delivered an in-store experience for Nike's skate products using RFID technology:

We created an Augmented Reality App for fashion powerhouse, Sportsgirl:

And finally, a pop-up store in the centre of both Melbourne and Sydney for Nike's product launch of Tech Pack & Hypervenom:

over 4 years ago


Guy Douglas

These in-store applications are fine for the top tier retailers; they're entertainment, maybe even useful sometimes....but you know, there is a world of smaller boutiques and cafes out there offering great things, and their tech is creative use of social media and just having WiFi, maybe a contactless payment terminal.

over 4 years ago



Well said Guy! A lot of stores are seriously behind the times and actively prevent you from taking pictures and using social media within their stores. I have been asked not to take a photo by overzealous shop assistants on many occasions and even if I explain why it might be a good idea they are not interested. How about downscaling some of the ideas here e.g. a photo booth style area with prominent branding to encourage social media use, Pinterest stickers, etc.

over 4 years ago


Tom Pryor, Freelancer at Mediaroute

Check out Lloyds Pharmacy Health Kiosks

over 4 years ago


giampietro mason, digital retail project at i route

is fantastic digital retail , now is next

over 1 year ago

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