Razorshop: The Future of Retail

The sheer end­less vari­ety of Inter­net shops is putting the pinch on many areas of sta­tion­ary retail trade. At the same time, how­ev­er, dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies allow retail com­pa­nies to trans­form shop­ping in a store envi­ron­ment into a thrilling expe­ri­ence. The secret to suc­cess lies in smart inte­gra­tion of the online and offline worlds. The dig­i­tal agency Razor­fish uses its inno­v­a­tive store envi­ron­ment Razor­shop to show how it can work in practice.

Our every­day lives are inter­laced with dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies that often sub­stan­tial­ly influ­ence our shop­ping behav­iour, which is why retail trade com­pa­nies have to adapt intel­li­gent­ly to this devel­op­ment in order to secure their long-term suc­cess. Dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion is the order of the day. After all, today’s cus­tomers are also con­stant­ly look­ing to sat­is­fy their ‘always on’ needs as they shop, whether it’s for goods or ser­vices. This takes offline stores beyond their role of a sim­ple place of trans­ac­tion, replac­ing them with realms where cus­tomers are invit­ed to expe­ri­ence, and not just pur­chase, their brands.

Technology with added value

So how does one go about trans­form­ing the tra­di­tion­al act of buy­ing items into an inno­v­a­tive shop­ping expe­ri­ence? To under­stand this process, it is impor­tant to grasp the inher­ent sig­nif­i­cance of dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion, which far exceeds mere digi­ti­sa­tion of the sales process. Instead, it revolves around the needs of the cus­tomer. The use of dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies cre­ates added val­ue, and con­sumers expe­ri­ence the ameni­ties of the dig­i­tal world inside the real-life store. Here are some exam­ples to show pre­cise­ly how it works:

For the first time, these two tech­nolo­gies recog­nise cus­tomers the minute they enter or linger in the store. The added val­ue: instead of pes­ter­ing the cus­tomer with adver­tis­ing, the com­pa­ny can address their indi­vid­ual pref­er­ences, for instance by dis­play­ing a per­son­alised mes­sage on the screen, or by mak­ing a car head­light ‘wink’ at prospec­tive customers.

Large-for­mat screens replace stands and shelves oth­er­wise used for prod­uct pre­sen­ta­tion. The added val­ue: cus­tomers can inspect, expe­ri­ence and pur­chase objects, irre­spec­tive of their phys­i­cal pres­ence in the store. This applies just as much to pre­mi­um prod­ucts. An exam­ple of this is found in Audi City, a ful­ly digi­tised car show­room locat­ed in Berlin and in many oth­er cities of glob­al stand­ing. In a way, it pro­vides infi­nite sales space, and retail­ers are no longer com­pelled to stock goods accord­ing to ‘sup­ply and demand’.

Instead of key­ing in a search request, cus­tomers take a pho­to of the prod­uct that has caught their eye, which they then order. The added val­ue: it can be fair­ly ardu­ous to type in text, par­tic­u­lar­ly on small smart­phone screens. Visu­al search­es are fun, and make the entire shop­ping expe­ri­ence eas­i­er for cus­tomers. The iOS app CamFind and the Android app Google Gog­gles already cater to this appli­ca­tion sce­nario. Visu­al search­es are also among the key fea­tures of the Ama­zon smart­phone Fire.

Sen­sor tech­nol­o­gy rev­o­lu­tionis­es the way we visu­alise our rela­tion­ships with prod­ucts. The added val­ue: cus­tomers can use gad­gets like the ‘Ocu­lus Rift’ VR glass­es to give prod­ucts a vir­tu­al spin or to ‘try them on’ before decid­ing whether or not to make a purchase.

The digital world becomes real

This brief intro­duc­tion, which is by no means com­plete, plain­ly demon­strates the rich­ly diverse dig­i­tal tool­box avail­able to retail brands. The cru­cial aspect in trans­form­ing these tools into a well-oiled, cap­ti­vat­ing retail expe­ri­ence is their smart deploy­ment in a real-life store. The dig­i­tal agency Razor­fish uses its dig­i­tal store envi­ron­ment Razor­shop to demon­strate how this works in practice.

Razor­shop is a show­case for dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion in the retail sec­tor, as the devel­op­ment of this inno­v­a­tive omni-chan­nel mar­ket­ing solu­tion did not focus on alter­ing the acquired behav­iour­al pat­terns of our fel­low human beings. On the con­trary, the aim was to use ameni­ties found in the dig­i­tal world to enhance the expe­ri­ence of shop­ping in a real-life retail out­let, and hence to cre­ate tan­gi­ble added val­ue. In this way, Razor­shop lets con­sumers enjoy the best of both worlds.

A harmonious blend

This inno­v­a­tive devel­op­ment is a demo envi­ron­ment in which sev­er­al cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies are inter­min­gled to present a pio­neer­ing retail expe­ri­ence. Most of the com­po­nents upon which Razor­shop is built are in-house devel­op­ments. They include the fol­low­ing products:

Com­bin­ing these appli­ca­tions with­in the Adobe Mar­ket­ing Cloud is an extreme­ly con­ve­nient way of pre­sent­ing con­tent dis­played in the store. This means that Razor­shop is main­tained using pre­cise­ly the same plat­form as the company’s own web­site, so no addi­tion­al con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem is required, and there are no addi­tion­al costs and effort involved in the main­te­nance of a sep­a­rate plat­form. Indeed, con­tent can be used simul­ta­ne­ous­ly on the web­site and in the store.

Hands-on experience of digital transformation

Con­sumers can expe­ri­ence up close and per­son­al how these com­po­nents work togeth­er in the Razor­shop dig­i­tal store envi­ron­ment– both from the per­spec­tive of a sales assis­tant and the cus­tomer. The store’s BLEEP tech­nol­o­gy detects the Razor­shop app installed on the customer’s smart­phone as soon as they enter the store. Imme­di­ate­ly it responds by send­ing per­son­alised mes­sages that cus­tomers receive on their smart­phones, or are dis­played on the large dig­i­tal sig­nage screens. This infor­ma­tion may include spe­cial pro­mo­tion­al offers and coupons, or rec­om­mend­ed prod­ucts that match the customer’s per­son­al preferences.

Fur­ther­more, the sales assis­tant is noti­fied that the cus­tomer has arrived and can use a tablet to access a per­son­al cus­tomer his­to­ry, which pro­vides him/her with a selec­tion of per­son­alised rec­om­men­da­tions to the cus­tomer. The sales assis­tant can also track in real time the areas in the store where cus­tomers touch, try on and pur­chase more or few­er prod­ucts. Ulti­mate­ly, this allows the sales assis­tant to cre­ate an ide­al lay­out for the shop­ping environment.

Razor­shop also offers a range of fea­tures designed to help cus­tomers help them­selves. For instance, a dig­i­tal screen dis­plays infor­ma­tion on whether an item is cloth­ing is avail­able in the desired size. The sys­tem can also illu­mi­nate the shelf com­part­ments where a cer­tain prod­uct is locat­ed. The added val­ue: Razor­shop is entire­ly autonomous when it comes to the amount and for­mat of installed hard­ware, grant­i­ng store own­ers essen­tial­ly unlim­it­ed oppor­tu­ni­ty to imple­ment any kind of inte­ri­or archi­tec­ture con­cept. This dig­i­tal envi­ron­ment is there­fore suit­able for any form of retail space (cloth­ing, cars, among oth­ers) and for places where an enhanced expe­ri­ence can help users find their bear­ings, for instance at trade fairs, bus stops, city offices and much more.

This arti­cle was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in UPLOAD for dmex­co. The Razor­shop instal­la­tion was also dis­played at the Adobe Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Symposium