Pattern Recognition: What Are The Big Themes In Retail?

Pattern Recognition: What Are The Big Themes In Retail?

Emerging trends in retail innovation from automation to AR

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 9 february 2017

This week, I’ve tried to peel the analysis into three groups: Retail, Advertising & Design. We’ve been talking to a bunch of you and it seems like we can provide the most value if we focus on these topics across various key industry verticals. You’ll start to see our content more and more categorized in this way and hopefully, and at the very least, it will help you explain what the heck PSFK is about when you recommend to someone they should read our newsletter(!).


From the content on the site, the big themes in retail innovation connect to automation and augmented reality. Both provide shoppers with a greater level of support, while allowing staff to focus on creating a genuine human connection.


As we mentioned in our Future of Work report, if retailers discover new ways to relieve staff of mundane work, associates can better focus their efforts on customer service and sales. Recently, we’ve seen some future-forward experiments with robots that achieve this, such as a bag packer, pint-pourer, coffee-frother, or even a door-to-door deliverer.

Soon to be seen in a store near you: Drone Sweaters?


Augmented reality is arriving in our stores in multiple formats: a Coop store in Milan is using smart-mirrors to provide extra information about fruit and groceries. Nike has unveiled an AR experience that projects custom designs onto sneakers and makes them viewable to shoppers in real-time. Gap has a new app that lets shoppers try on clothing without needing to step inside a store. Connected inspiration: Google is enhancing the DIA museum experience in Detroit by adding augmented reality interactivity, and this AI infused doctor’s office learns about your particular health needs over time and provide better service with each visit.

Idea: instead of wondering whether to allocate a sale to digital, mobile or offline store, match your customer to a zipcode/postcode on their first purchase and the store gets rewarded on every subsequent sale, no matter what the channel. Then brands and retailers have new metrics that allow them to invest in physical as a marketing experience.

+augmented reality
+Future of work

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