Trend Trail kicks off visits to Retail Asia Expo 2017
Step into Retail Asia Expo this June and you’ll be drawn to navigate an insightful pathway highlighting trends and technologies in multiple areas of the retail experience. A sort of ‘best-of-show’ snapshot as opposed to just walking into a great big exhibition hall
Creative agency Fitch teamed with KPMG and Retail Asia Expo organiser Diversified to create a Trend Trail – a “vibrant, exciting, disruptive and memorable” means to discover new concepts in the industry.
The overarching themes of the exhibit are personalisation, AI, transparency and mobile payments. But there is much more to the Trend Trail experience where a collection of exhibitors ranging from startups to multinationals are presenting new technologies or concepts which can change the way consumers conduct retailing or engage with brands.
“You can get hands-on with these products before entering the main exhibition hall leading you to the future of the retail world,” explains Stuart Bailey, MD of Diversified Communications, the organiser of Retail Asia Expo.
“Fitch will bring this special feature to life with a design that gives an immersive, memorable and one-of-a-kind feel. It blends physical, human and digital.”
Jonathan Cummings, chairman of Fitch Hong Kong, says the aim of the Trend Trail is to create a ‘best-of-show’ experience to set them up for the day, that identifies the trends and technologies driving retail.
“We wanted to give them a curated snapshot, if you like.
“Last year we created an interactive zone at the heart of the exhibition where we curated a few different experiences based on interactive technologies in retail. Off the back of last year’s zone, we sat down with Stuart and discussed doing something more innovative from an exhibition point of view that would be a bit more inspirational for people. The thinking was that as people enter the show, we should inspire them and remind them of some of the big stuff happening in retail right now,” says Cummings
To introduce the concept, Fitch has created a simple explanation of the typical customer mindset when shopping as a backdrop to the feature. It starts with Dreaming where a consumer has no specific purchase intent (For example: “I want to get more fit”). It progresses to Exploring – where a purchase intent manifests in a category (“I want a pair of trainers for running.”). Then the consumer becomes a shopper, Locating a specific product or service. (“I want a pair of Flyknit blue size 8 shoes.”) and finishes with Achieving: the post-purchase experience. (“I want to get the most out of running.”).
Here are the exhibitors and concepts which make up Retail Asia Expo’s Trend Trail…
C3 Internet: One Stop WeChat Solution
C3 has developed a solution allowing overseas merchants to accept WeChat payments and further promote to 800 million active China WeChat users and boosting customer loyalty. Previously, WeChat payment was available only for China-based customers.
SmartRetail: Smart Retail Vending
SmartRetail has created an interactive solution which transforms the traditional vending machine into an Internet of Things (IoT) platform. Creating a more personalised shopping experience, the machine has a Customised User Interface designed to display nutrition and ingredient information and interactive, targeted marketing solutions which might, for example, make suggestions for the customer to buy. It offers multiple payment methods and – via its connection to the IoT – keeps a running inventory and sends a message to the retailer advising what items need restocking.
HeyCoins: Coin conversion kiosk
Too much loose change jangling around in your pockets, or wasting away in a jar at home? HeyCoins has created a kiosk which collects coins from people and converts them into a digital currency. You can feed coins into the machine and convert them into Octopus card credits, for example (for a modest commission). Or you can convert them into vouchers for use at retailers. For example, a partnering fast-food company might give you a $25 voucher if your coin deposit equals $20. Or you can donate the coins to a chosen charity.
HeyCoins is a startup created by a Hong Kong marketing student.
HK Pick-up: Four-hour, Door-to-door Last Mile Fulfillment Solution
Merchants who want to impress online customers with rapid delivery can consider HK Pick-up, a GPS-based door-to-door service boasting delivery within four hours of purchase. The Uber-style concept uses people on foot armed with smartphones to collect parcels and deliver them, using public transport or their own means. Vans are available for bulkier goods. The HK Pick-up logistics tech platform emphasises speed, low-cost, accurate tracking and flexibility. And by nature, it works outside normal business hours.
Ergo Mechanics: Ergonomic Anti-Fatigue Mats and Relief Sit-Stand
Ergo Mechanics has extensively studied the science of standing to create a floor mat which gives retail store staff – and customers – the healthiest, most comfortable floor surface.
Anyone with a partner who loves shopping can testify to the pain after a marathon mall tour. These floors are so comfortable, you want to stay still.
HappyOrNot: Customer Satisfaction Reporting
HappyOrNot is the global leader in instant customer satisfaction reporting. It’s a concept most travellers have already seen in airports around Asia-Pacific, providing instant feedback on how customers viewed their experience. HappyOrNot wants to expand the concept into retail stores and shopping centres, collecting ‘smileys’ and intelligent data analytics to help suggest improvements to retailers which would enhance shoppers’ customer experience. HappyOrNot already serves more than 4000 companies in 120 countries and has collected more than 500 million feedbacks by now.
Intel Corporation: Responsive Retail Sensor
The Intel Retail Responsive Retail Sensor can increase inventory accuracy to nearly 100 per cent by gathering actionable, near-real-time intelligence – saving money and converting more sales. It tracks items through RFID tags, preserving customer privacy while keeping sales staff informed on inventory, stocking, customer traffic, and local demand. It can monitor what customers are picking up and looking at and warn retailers if there has been a run on a certain line.
Think & Go: Connected Screens
Connected Screens are a breakthrough that enable the creation of new “phygital” experiences, leveraging customers contactless/smart objects (NFC smartphones, smartcards and wearables, for example). The smart screens can display different products, incorporate contactless payments, allow people to search products, select them and pay for them – all on the same screen. They can be located anywhere – in MTR stations, hospital waiting rooms anywhere an audience may be interested in browsing.
Tofugear: Connected Fitting Room
The Connected Fitting Room provides a seamless, omnichannel fitting room experience by identifying the customer, the products they try on, and offering personalised serviceability by combining artificial intelligence with IoT technology. The technology behind it can see what the customer bought last time and make recommendations or alternative or complementary products based on what they are looking at. “It’s a magic mirror on steroids,” says Stuart Bailey.
One Plus Management: O2O Free Sample Dispenser
Complete a survey, play a game on-screen – and receive a free product sample for your trouble. If you’re a brand or a retailer who wants to get information from women on their skincare habits, you can offer a sample of your products as a reward. The product works by scanning QR codes and interconnects with brands’ WeChat accounts.
3Ds Technology: Virtual Assistant
Imagine a life-sized hologram you can interact with. SDs Technology has developed a stand-alone projection image with automatic programmed response, which can be triggered by motion sensor. Consumers can ask questions – like Siri, except it has a hologram. The Virtual Assistant can be installed in shops providing product information – or in shopping malls offering advice on finding stores or services.
Einstein is an Artificial Intelligence tool. If you are searching a retailer’s website for something, Einstein knows what you’ve looked at before and are likely to buy. For example, a home furnishing retailer can allow you to upload a photo of your living room and test what different products from the store look like inside your home.
- Retail Asia Expo will be held at the Hong Kong Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai from June 13-15.