22 Sep 2021 | AWE Team
What will retail shopping look like in the future?

Find out how Denise White, Founder and CEO of SPATIALx sees the future of IRL (in real life) Retail and why she dared to start a business based on a new concept. As former Director for Direct to Consumer Technologies at the Walt Disney Company, she has reliable insight on the sector and a strong sense about how a mixed reality shopping experience might be like. 

A Snapshot of Today’s Retail Business

Starting off with Saint Albans, a market town twenty minutes away from London, Denise points out the dramatic changes the retail sector has registered. Changes accelerated by the pandemic, retail businesses shuttered, especially smaller ones, have become the norm. This reflects a growing trend around the world. It is now obvious that the physical retail store, as we know it, does not fit our lifestyles and pace of life anymore.

Age is also an important factor influencing consumer behaviour.

If for generation X and for millennials (born before 1994), the physical retail experience still had value, generation Z (1995-2010) are the true digital natives. For the latter, the accent falls on the experience of buying and matching their digital habits.

Mixed Reality Shopping - The Future of Retail

Integrating immersive technologies into the retail experience addresses both of these new directives and the shifting patterns of buying behavior. A mixed reality shopping experience solves both new lifestyle demands, supports digital shopping and appeals to different age groups. An important note is the need to use a widely available device for the transitioning period. The transition can be earilydone through a mobile phone to experience augmented and mixed reality.

An Example for the trend was the acquisition of Geo-magic by Ikea in April 2020. For the first time, users could scan a space with their phones and then place different products from the manufacturer all around the captured space by using augmented reality.

A New Retail Store Concept to Match Consumer Expectations

Denise describes her company, SPATIALx, as being on “a path of discovery of holographic envisioning”. While based on spatial ambient computing, the desire was to shift away from external devices (like the mobile for AR) and to see the holograms directly integrated in the environment. Therefore, the company opted  for mixed reality as the way to bring immersive technology to the consumer experience.

The new idea developed by the company is called Blank (thinking of a blank canvas). The concept is essentially a subscription retail store with no physical products inside. It serves as a medium for different manufacturers and suppliers to present their products for a determined period of time.

Check  out this video to see Denise offering a glimpse into future mixed reality shopping experiences. It promises to be an easy, natural process combining the needs and expectations of clients from different generations. 

Key Takeaways

The mixed reality shopping experience aims to integrate our former IRL shipping experiences with current digital shopping. Plans for locations and organizing such stores are mentioned in the video along with a brief overview of the necessary tech and gear to get involved. 

You can also find out in the presentation about the valuable traits of this new type of retail establishment and about the unique ways it benefits the consumer. Teaser: one of the best things will be sharing the experience of shopping with someone on the other side of the globe.

Do you see yourself being a paying customer of such a retail store? You have about two years to think about it, until SPATIALx opens up its first location.

Until then don’t forget to check out our website for updates on the talks we have prepared for this November’s Retail, eCommerce & Advertising track. Companies like Shopify, Digitas, Toyota, Ulta Beauty, P&G and many others will have talks on the subject that you don't want to miss. Check out the speakers’ list here.

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