Buying Into the Future of Retail

With an impressive speaker line-up and a fun, hands-on experiential zone, Retail Disrupt @ The Bay had just one aim – to help solve retailers’ pain points.

buying into future of retail

Minister of State for the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Teo Ser Luck, being introduced to Face by Holition, an immersive virtual cosmetic experience for retailers using innovative technology where smartphones and tablets act as a mirror for consumers to try on the latest colours, shades and textures of makeup.

In a cavernous hall at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, John Peeters is on stage, talking about magic mirrors and hologram fashion shows.

No, this was not the set of Harry Potter but the very real world of Disrupt @ The Bay. The third instalment of DBS BusinessClass’ series of events aims to bring together the world’s most disruptive technologies, start-ups and business owners.

More than 20 disruptive retail startups and technology solution providers from around the world – including Australia, Europe, India, Malaysia, Singapore and the US – showed off live demos of their latest innovations.

Among the speakers were big tech brands such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as smaller upstarts such as local visual technology firm ViSenze and Australian startup, arcade, which uses gamification science to tackle lacklustre staff engagement.

Over 500 retailers attended the two-day event from 4-5 November 2015, which was held in conjunction with the Singapore Productivity Exhibition.

Holition Augmented Retail virtual makeup experience

Face by Holition Augmented Retail, an immersive virtual makeup experience

Peeters, the business development director at London-based augmented reality startup Holition, told the attentive crowd how his team created a Magic Mirror for fast-fashion retailer Uniqlo, allowing customers to virtually try on clothes in different colours. Its technology also facilitated a 3D holographic fashion show for Alfred Dunhill at Trafalgar Square.

He said: “The Magic Mirror adds something to the in-store shop experience. It’s very good to create digital PR and raise social media buzz. It doesn’t raise sales immediately, but creates an atmosphere and helps the activation of the brand.”

An immersive experience

At the event, a special Retail Experiential Zone was set up to showcase how in-store experiences can be boosted with exciting technologies.

There, Holition presented curious attendees a similar high-tech mirror for trying on virtual cosmetics such as eye shadow and lipstick.

StockBot by PAL Robotics

StockBot by PAL Robotics, an advanced automatic inventory retail solution

Attracting attention too was the tall and skinny StockBot, which roamed around the experiential zone. Created by Barcelona-based PAL Robotics, the autonomous stock-taking robot keeps track of in-store inventory using RFID technology. It can cut down on labour costs and human errors, and speed up inventory management processes.

Also showing its stuff was Seattle-based startup Prizmiq, which creates photo-realistic online 3D shopping experiences – mostly of shoes – for brands and retailers using augmented reality.

With virtual reality, a person can actually turn the shoes or walk around in them. “That could revolutionise the traditional shopping experience,” said CEO Darrick Morrison.

At the event, attendees also had the chance to see for themselves the bespoke solutions created for three retail SMEs in the first ever “Disrupt Retail Challenge”. (see other story)

DBS BusinessClass worked closely with children’s clothing brand Chateau De Sable, Triple Pte Ltd, the South-east Asia distributor of high-performance brand Under Armour, and electronics chain Gain City to understand their biggest challenges. It then approached technology startups here and abroad to build these customised and highly disruptive solutions for the retailers.

It’s a small peek into how retailers can get a leg up on today’s radically changing retail landscape. Disruptive technologies can help them better manage manpower, rental cost and inventory, and design better customer experiences.

As Lim Chu Chong, Head of SME Banking, DBS Bank, said: “After speaking with our retail SME customers we identified some common challenges they faced, whether it was high rental costs or not having the tools to optimise their supply chain.”

“We also realised that many retailers were not adopting these technologies simply because of a lack of awareness. As such, we decided to match retailers with technology start-ups who could craft customised solutions to meet their needs.”

Simplifying Inventory Management and Online Sales

Chateau de Sable exploring technology

Learn how children’s clothing brand Chateau de Sable is exploring visual search technology and an advanced inventory management to remain competitive.

Increase Sales by Increasing Customer Engagement

Triple sportswear exploring technology

Learn how sporting wear distributor Triple is joining forces with tech startups to help them raise staff competency and drive traffic to their stores.

Enhancing the In-Store Experience

Gain City virtual sales assistant

Learn how electronics retailer Gain City set up virtual sales assistants to drive sales and sustain engagement with customers.


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