The retail industry has undergone significant changes in recent years in a bid to keep up with the latest consumer demands and still turn a profit. As one of the fastest moving industries, retail is in a constant battle to meet the needs of the demanding 21st Century shopper, who has more choice than ever before.
One of the major advances in the sector in recent years is the introduction of internet shopping. Despite early concerns over security, the UK’s internet shopping industry is now worth an estimated £100billion a year, with people increasingly eager to take advantage of the flexibility and convenience of shopping from home.
Now, prototypes aimed at blending the traditional bricks and mortar experience with internet enabled shopping are set to revolutionise the retail industry. In what is being dubbed as ‘retail theatre’, companies from around the world are looking at ways to get customers back on the high street.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich Hertz Institute are working on a prototype system that will enable passers by to operate window displays with hand and facial gestures. According to research fellow Paul Chojecki, this means people will be able to point at garments in the store and have them projected onto the store window in a vivid 3d display, without the need for special glasses.
They will then be able to view them in different colours and at different angles by rotating them through 360°. They will even be able to purchase them after hours using Near Field Communication technology.
“Retailers’ store fronts are arguably their most valuable asset and this new prototype means they could make much more of them,” said Chojecki, who claims the window will offer a ‘revolutionary shopping experience’. “The interactive store window will let retailers use their store fronts as a giant catalogue, allowing passers by to view products in store and purchase goods after hours.”