Projects: Aopen’s Gen2 Retail Evolution Lab In Melbourne

August 28, 2014 by Dave Haynes

The down-under wing of AOPEN has opened the latest in a string of showcase labs, this new one a multi-million dollar job in Melbourne.

Built to demonstrate future applications for shopping and retail technology, the lab shows everything from transparent displays and digital labels to virtual touchscreens and waiter-less restaurants.

This is the first Retail Evolution Lab, coming on the heels of earlier Retail Experience Labs now running in Taipei, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Brazil, London, and Italy.

Ironically, to me at least, I got a lab tour in Taipei back in June and they wouldn’t allow pictures to be taken. For Melbourne, they sent me a DropBox link.

Says a release:

Gen2 takes a much broader focus by looking at in-presence digital anywhere a transaction occurs. It features hospitality and government services as well as retail. Partners include PayPal, Intel, Nuon, and Red, as well as Point of Sale innovation and analytics specialists.

Foundation clients in Australia include tier one supermarket chains, Super Cheap Auto, Bedshed, Bunnings, DHS My Gov, Helloworld and Laminex.

AOPEN CEO Stephen Borg says aim is to show how digital can propel traditional retail and drive sales.

“In store retail is all about experience and the Gen2 Lab will be a permanent place where retailers can design custom stores with the latest in retail technology. Using digital signage, touch devices and facial recognition and sensory technologies they can bring the best of the web in-store, enhance customer experience and counter show rooming by supporting sales conversions,” Stephen Borg says.

“As well as bringing next generation retail technology to Australian retailers, Gen2 also takes Australian retail innovations to an international audience through our Retail Labs around the world.”

Some of the futuristic technology on display includes:

No more queues for coffee

A café window is turned into a touchscreen, so instead of having to wait in line, you can order your coffee before you enter and even pre-pay. OpenOrder works via a 55-inch through-glass projection and is integrated with PayPal’s digital wallet system. Your choice of drink and food plus your photo pop up on the barista’s screen, so they know who’s ordered what.

Fashion store: open all night

The glass projection touchscreen can also be used to give customers 24/7 access to a fashion retailer. Using OpenOrder they can select the clothes they see on a shop window mannequin, pick the sizes they want, and order.

Design-your-own cocktails

Why jostle with the crowd at the bar or wait ages for a cocktail server to visit your table? Instead, the out-of-store order and payments process is embedded into a touchscreen table, and you can even design your own drinks based on available ingredients. If the bar or kitchen runs out of a particular ingredient it automatically disappears from selection. Restaurants can also adjust specials throughout the night based on stock levels.

Corporate check-in

Using an eTile, check in becomes a quick and easy process. Visitors simply enter their name and company via a touchscreen tablet in reception, and their details and photo are printed on a badge. The system also sends an email to notify whomever you’re visiting that you’ve arrived.

Interactive changing room

Picked out the wrong size clothing or want to try another colour? eTile tablets enable interactive changing rooms where you can simply scan the label of what you’re trying on, and request a different size. The sales assistant automatically gets notified on their tablet. The system can also suggest accessories to go with the outfit you’ve chosen.

Glossy magazine video-wall

Purpose built for a major international fashion retailer, these 1.8mm bezel, 55″ video wall screens have been designed for the highest colour reproduction accuracy. The technical requirement was for them to look as good as a high definition light box print at full resolution.

Surf action while you shop

The customer can look up a particular surfer to see which gear they wear, using a touchscreen tablet. As they do the tablet controls a huge video wall, showing them on the big screen how a particular surfer uses the products they’re browsing.

AOPEN will also be running ongoing master classes, drawing on global experts to bring in best-in-class thinking on in store experience and omnichannel marketing to Australian retailers. NAB has signed on to conduct one of the first AOPEN master classes exploring user experience for retailers interested in retail banking.

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