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IT companies were keen to show how digital technologies would influence the evolution of store experiences at this year’s annual US trade show

McCormick_1.jpgIT companies were keen to show how digital technologies would influence the evolution of store experiences at this year’s annual US trade show


The store experience figured highly in the exhibitions at the 102nd National Retail Federation Federation's 'Retail Big Show' in New York this week.


While many focused on the digital shopper themselves, some looked beyond screens and visual experiences to ones that engaged all five senses, like McCormick’s World of Flavour (pictured).


Moving beyond digital


The global spices and seasonings manufacturer, McCormick & Company, with retail brands including Schwartz in the UK, worked with Intel and experts at 5th Screen Digital Services to develop an intelligent instore experience designed to educate consumers on the range of flavours offered in a fun and engaging way. The store features include 'FlavourPrint' to explore flavour profiles, 'Guess That Spice' to test spice.


“We opened our first ever store in August last year to tell the company story in our home town of Baltimore, even though we are present in nearly 60 countries,” explained Kathleen Haley, McCormick & Company director of corporate branding and communications. “We have integrated digital experiences from day one – to enable sales staff to engage customers in the store.”


Keith Kelsen, 5th Screen chairman and chief executive, highlighted that flexibility was important in the design of the FlavourPrint system, for example. “We can deploy this even at the shelf edge,” he said. The digital design uses Intel Core processors with Intel Active Management Technology (AMT) for remote manageability and features a virtual, onscreen keyboard to capture details of participating shoppers in return for promotional coupons.


Self-service development


UK self-service brand Costa Express was at the show with Intel to preview another sensory demonstration. Scott Martin, Costa Express managing director, told Retail Technology, its next-generation Intelligent Self-Service Espresso Bar even employs Atomhawk gaming graphics technology to provide a premium experience.


Costa Express CEM-200“Designed by Pininfarina, it features sounds and smell to recreate the atmosphere of a busy, bustling coffee house,” he said. “Its sensors prevent it from working without the presence of a cup. And it plays on the five senses, as well as featuring a 27.5-inch HD [high definition] touchscreen with eye-racking technology.”


The CEM-200 (pictured) integrates its touch, audio and olfactory features with embedded Microsoft and Intel technologies. Lead integrator Bsquare integrated the operating system with the hardware and built the user interface and a cloud-based back office management system in less than six months. The anonymous video analytics Intel Audience Impression Metrics AIM Suite is used to help Costa understand who is using the machines and what consumers are buying in order to offer the right product mix in each location.


Martin stated that it was Costa’s responsibility as market leader to innovate. But he added that this new self-service model would also open new markets. “As part of our omnichannel strategy we have to offer the same level of service as we do in our stores,” he said. “Our existing machines work brilliantly in their existing channels, like motorway service stations. But this is a larger, elegant range that could be used in corporate offices, for example.”