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data Editor's pick mobile Retail technology

5 ways 5G will impact retail

Last month, mobile phone network Three ‘switched on’ its 5G service in London through an immersive experience with fashion designer Henry Holland.   

The “Living Room of the Future” initiative saw visitors able to try on mixed reality headsets from Magic Leap, to enter into a world consisting of everything from a mindfulness moment, to a gaming experience and the delivery of (virtual) House of Holland shoes by drone to your door. 

5G is expected to ramp up in 2020 on a global level. Further cities in Switzerland, Spain, Germany and Italy have already begun adopting it. Meanwhile, in the US, although four cities have turned on the signal, the technology is tied up in a trade war, since China’s Huawei is the dominant 5G supplier. Regardless, the latest Ericsson Mobility Report predicts there will be more than 10 million 5G subscriptions globally by the end of this year, and that 5G population coverage is forecast to reach 45% by 2024.

In it simplest sense, 5G is just a faster version of 4G – about 20x the speed in fact. That coupled with almost no latency, means the new networks will nearly eliminate lag time. This is big news for mobile of course – opening up paths to purchase in even the busiest of crowds for everyday shoppers. 

But its existence will also help power other tech advances, from machine learning to digital realities. Add in features like low energy consumption and higher reliability, and it brings an opportunity for the retail industry to enhance the consumer experience in the physical store with a number of seamless real-time functionalities, leading to increased engagement and conversions. 

As a result, now is the ideal time for retailers to start planning how their stores and interfaces will look when 5G becomes widely available. Here are 5 ways we see it having an impact… 

Connected Spaces

Connectivity in our physical stores, means devices that can constantly exchange data with each other – also known as those under the header of the Internet of Things (IoT). To do so, they need a fast, reliable network that doesn’t require too much power. 5G networks will achieve a 90% reduction in power consumption, guaranteeing up to 10 years of battery life for low power IoT devices. This means, for example, that more retailers will have access to smart shelves like the ones Amazon implemented in its Amazon Go stores. This technology uses dozens of sensors to provide real-time inventory visibility and update pricing according to demand. 

Key tech we’re tracking: dynamic pricing, automated checkouts, connected fitting rooms, automatic replenishment

Amazon Go Store
Immersive Experiences

Augmented and virtual realities use a lot of processing power and cellular data. With the increased capacity of 5G networks, retailers will be able to create richer, more detailed experiences when integrating their physical and digital worlds. This will make technologies that we’re already experimenting with, and seeing consumer adoption of, only more of a possibility. The result will mean shoppers are able to immediately check product materials or ingredients through the use of smart glasses or their smartphones, for instance. Those same apps will also guide customers to the products they want by projecting directions into their field of view in real-time as they navigate the store space.

Key tech we’re tracking: immersive interfaces, gamification, wayfinding

Puma’s new flagship store with gamification
Higher Efficiencies

Artificial intelligence will also thrive on IoT devices via 5G. That’s not to say the AI algorithms themselves will change, but that the higher network will enable more accurate real-time data to flow, ultimately facilitating smarter systems. In retail, for instance, managers will be able to delegate more operational and inventory decisions to automation. This means greater efficiencies as well as accuracies on things like forecasting inventory quantities so as to optimize stock levels, leaving sales associates to spend more time on customer care. Having stock in the right place at the right time will also decrease the risk of losing customers to competitors, as product availability will be more accurate. 

Key tech we’re tracking: retail analytics, inventory visibility, demand forecasting, endless aisle  

Walmart’s endless aisle
Personalization

With lower latency, retailers will also be able to respond to purchasing patterns and behaviors with immersive, tailored content in real-time. Implementing 5G in-store will allow for greater interactions and data collections between sales associates and customers. Real time data could be tracked to create personalized adverts or offers based on the preferences of individual customers, helping to increase the incentive to buy. 

Key tech we’re tracking: marketing automation, personalized promotions, AI recommendations, product search tools, clienteling

Nike’s Melrose store
Fulfilment

The implementation of 5G will also revolutionize logistics by improving  efficiency in fulfilment tasks and increasing the speed of transportation. Greater connectivity and improved reliability will help communications between brands, couriers and consumers. The full capacity of 5G will eventually also enable the roll out of automation in transport and warehouses, thanks to improved processing of the vast amounts of data required in real-time. 

Key tech we’re tracking: smart warehousing, robotics, automated vehicles

Lowebot assisting a consumer

Additional reporting by Larissa Gomes.

How are you thinking about retail innovation? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more.

Categories
mobile social media technology

Henry Holland’s LCM show instantly shoppable thanks to augmented reality app

House of Holland's augmented reality shopping app in action
House of Holland’s augmented reality shopping app in action

The shoppable runway took on new meaning at House of Holland’s London Collections Men presentation this weekend past, with garments available for purchase straight off the back of models thanks to augmented reality.

The initiative was the result of a partnership between Visa Europe Collab and visual discovery and augmented reality app, Blippar.

Users (in this case Radio One DJ Nick Grimshaw and model Rafferty Law) were able to hold their smartphone in front of the desired garment and tap the screen to activate AR technology that would pull up imagery and information about it. They were then able to instantly check out using a pre-registered and prepaid debit or credit card.

“Being able to scan garments through Blippar and purchase them pretty much off [the model’s] back is an amazing technological development and one I have dreamt of as a consumer and a fashion business owner,” said House of Holland founder, Henry Holland.

Visa Europe Collab co-founder Hendrik Kleinsmiede, commented: “Augmented reality has the potential to be transformative for the retail industry. Imagine a future where you can point your phone at a friend’s new outfit with their permission, only for the app to recognise and source that outfit in your size, and give you the option of having it sent straight to your home.”

Indeed, that idea of being able to capture anyone’s outfit and pull up information about where it’s from has long been an appealing one to shoppers. This aims to take that one step closer to reality (albeit a simpler version by being preloaded with truly accurate data thanks to the fact it’s focused on one brand’s products).

The launch at this point is just a proof-of-concept one – meaning it only existed for the moment of the LC:M show – but the aim is to make the technology available to other retailers on a wider scale later this year. Kleinsmiede added that he hopes this virtual shift in traditional shopping behaviour is something we’ll see on the high street very soon.

This was the second time Henry Holland and Visa Europe have worked together. The two collaborated on a wearable technology project in September 2015 that saw items purchased from the brand’s womenswear show during London Fashion Week using a payment ring.

Categories
digital snippets film social media technology

Digital snippets: Dolce & Gabbana’s #selfies, Burberry’s Apple Music channel; NFC payments at House of Holland

Here’s a round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

dolce_selfie

  • Dolce & Gabbana models post selfies straight off the runway (as pictured) [Vogue]
  • Burberry becomes first fashion brand to launch Apple Music channel [BoF/Bloomberg]
  • It might seem like a gimmick, but here’s why Henry Holland’s NFC payment ring matters [Forbes]
  • Intel unveils RFID system for retailers, Levi Strauss pilots [RFID Journal]
  • DKNY gets personal for New York Fashion Week with Instagram Direct campaign [AdAge]
  • H&M releases film featuring David Beckham and American comedian Kevin Hart [Brand Republic]
  • Robots, holograms and wearables: A tech history of fashion week [Fashionista]
  • Snapchat and Uber: How outsiders got into NYFW events [Digiday]
  • The best of tech at London Fashion Week [Forbes]
  • New York Fashion Week’s social media winners and losers [Digiday]
  • Why fashion model Karlie Kloss launched her own YouTube channel [Co.Create]
  • Vogue goes viral [FT]
  • Google’s Eric Schmidt on how artificial intelligence could shape fashion trends [WWD]
  • Can ‘smart malls’ save China’s failing shopping centres from collapse? [The Guardian]
  • ‘A lot of guff is talked about personalisation’, says Ao.com boss John Roberts [Retail Week]
  • The invisible labour of fashion blogging [The Atlantic]
Categories
e-commerce Editor's pick technology

It might seem like a gimmick, but here’s why Henry Holland’s NFC payment ring matters

HouseofHolland_AlexaChung

House of Holland’s London Fashion Week show this season saw NFC-enabled rings used to purchase straight from the runway.

Launched in partnership with Visa Europe Collab, a new innovation lab within Visa, the initiative went above and beyond that of a gimmick by bringing together trends including shoppable collections, wearable technology and the future of payments.

Read the full story on why that’s important, over at Forbes.

Categories
Editor's pick social media technology

The best of tech coming up at #LFW

FyodorGolan_anchor

London Fashion Week kicked off yesterday, and while there might not be quite as much buzz around tech or digital ideas at the shows as there was in New York this season, there are still a handful of things worth knowing about.

Head over to Forbes for a highlight of the best, including Burberry’s early Snapchat reveal, Hunter’s mobile gigs on Periscope, Topshop’s Pinterest Palettes, Henry Holland’s NFC-enabled wearables, Fyodor Golan’s Transformers (as pictured) and a look ahead at Intel as a patron of the British Fashion Council.

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick film social media

All the digital activity surrounding this #LFW season

Eight days later and New York Fashion Week has wrapped up, everyone’s hopped across the pond and now we find ourselves in London ready and raring for the second set of the spring/summer 2015 shows.

As with its US counterpart, digital is playing a significant role in marketing strategy this season, driven heavily by the team at the British Fashion Council. Said CEO Caroline Rush: “This season, London Fashion Week will be celebrating digital innovation in fashion, encouraging designers to embrace technology to amplify their stories and their work.”

Here then are some of the things you can expect:

LFWdigital_ss15

  • Topshop is continuing as one of the city’s strongest digital contenders this season, introducing a wealth of activity including presenting some of the look from its Unique show on Facebook rather than on the catwalk. There are also six items from the collection that will be available to buy in-store on the same day, and a group of popular Instagrammers curating and populating its channel for the season.

  • Hunter meanwhile is partnering with real-time video start-up Grabyo, in order to deliver up to 10 instantaneous highlights from the catwalk to its fans via Twitter. Key moments as they unfold will be available for followers in 10-45 second clips, whether at a desktop or viewing via their smartphones. Better yet, said content will also be geo-targeted on Twitter so the type of items shown from the collection are reflective of the user’s particular region and climate.

  • Burberry has teamed up with Twitter to trial its new ‘buy’ button. Immediately following its SS15 show on Monday September 15, the brand will offer Twitter users the chance to purchase exclusive nail polish colours that appeared on the runway. Later in the testing phase, the brand’s new My Burberry fragrance will also be available for purchase.

  • TheOutnet.com has introduced Sergio the Shoe Hunter; a real-life mini dachshund who will be reporting live from London Fashion Week on the best footwear out there. He’ll do so with a GoPro Hero 3 Camera attached to his collar and will post on both his own blog and TheOutnet.com’s Twitter feed. Follow along via #sergioshoehunter.

  • House of Holland meanwhile has partnered with online fitting room company Metail in order to let customers virtually try-on the clothing from its show on Saturday September 13, in real-time. Anyone watching will be able to create their own ‘MeModel’ – an avatar of themselves in the looks they choose from the runway. The idea is they will then be able to pre-order the pieces they want in the right size for them.

  • Temperley London is using Instagram’s new Hyperlapse tool to provide fans with exclusive insights in the five days leading up to its show. The first versions have seen a bit of a rushed look through garments being stitched, as well as a fitting session with a model. More to come.

  • Maybelline is bringing video highlights from LFW to Exterion Media’s out of home screens across the London Underground. A total of 19 stations including Piccadilly Circus, Bond Street and Covent Garden will be showcasing the content from September 13-17.

  • The British Fashion Council itself – as well as supporting the majority of the above and pushing live streams of over 90% of its designers – also has a myriad of its own activities going on. There’s an event on Monday September 15 where British designers will be showcased in a new film premiering from SHOWstudio’s Nick Knight. There will also be a 25 metre-long interactive installation from Meri Media as well as premieres from Mary Katrantzou, Jonathan Saunders, Michael van der Ham and River Island the same night. Next up there’s a LFW street style photo booth sponsored by Swatch that will be situated at Somerset House, highlights of which will be posted to the official London Fashion Week Facebook page. And the BFC is also hosting a Contemporary Shop on eBay that will provide consumers with access to exclusive items from designers Alexis Barrell, Georgia Hardinge, Paper London, and Zoë Jordan.

  • Last but not least, the BFC is also running a series of three panel discussions throughout LFW focused on fashion and technology. The first on Sunday will cover how technology has changed pattern, colour and cloth in fashion, and will feature the likes of cyborg artist Neil Harbisson and Nancy Tilbury, co-founder and director of Studio XO. The second on Monday will explore whether real luxury can be achieved online, and feature jeweller Stephen Webster as well as Tracy Yaverbaun, director of fashion and luxury at Facebook and Instagram, among others. And the final one on Tuesday will dive into where we draw the line between creativity and commerciality. I will be on the panel, as will designer Henry Holland; Justin Cooke, founder of Innovate7 and former CMO of Topshop; Sasha Wilkins of Liberty London Girl; Daniela Cecilio, founder of ASAP54; and Remi Paringaux, founder and creative director of Meri Media. The full line-up as well as details on how to attend or tune-in, can be found online here.

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce mobile Uncategorized

Digital snippets: Louis Vuitton, Love magazine, & Other Stories, Nike, Caché, Hearst

Happy new year one and all! To kickstart 2013, here are a handful of stories surrounding all things fashion and digital from over the holiday period you may have missed:

LouisVuitton_paperdoll

  • Louis Vuitton pushes spring/summer line with downloadable paper doll cutouts (as pictured) [Luxury Daily]
  • Love magazine released a star-studded Fashion Nativity video on Christmas Day featuring Laura Carmichael, Pixie Geldof, Giles Deacon, Henry Holland, Abbey Clancy and more [Love]
  • New video from H&M’s forthcoming & Other Stories line reveals craftsmanship of bags in its first collection [YouTube]
  • Nike gamifies every day human movement with NikeFuel Missions video game [DigitalBuzzBlog]
  • Fashion retailer Caché launches mobile app featuring push notifications [AdWeek]