Tomorrow’s Commerce is Born here
New technologies for future shopping were tested in a fake retail environment in Borås. Researchers and commercial companies meet in the lab in a unique project, run by SIIR, Swedish Institute for Innovative Retailing, at the University of Borås.
– Our goal is for commercial companies to get as much pleasure and so many ideas that they try something new when they get home. We have then succeeded, says Malin Sundström, researcher and academic director of SIIR.
A number of pilot projects are already underway. It may be a question of how consumers can use mobile phones inside the store or how they receive information, when boundary between online and offline shopping is removed. All items are tagged and can be taken to a scanning station in the store. When you scan the product information is displayed about it and this allows you to compare different products with each other.
Focus on Both Consumer and Companies
In the autumn the Sjuhärad Association of Local Authorities has largely funded the lab. The first companies participating ranged from small traders such as Milook Sweden and Resalätt.nu and well-known stores such as Hemtex and Ellos. The lab is primarily aimed towards small and medium-sized companies, who cannot afford to develop this kind of technology and knowledge.
– It has not been difficult to find companies that have wanted to participate, on the contrary,says Malin Sundström.
–The knowledge and insights from the retail lab will not essentially favour the traders. The focus is just as much on consumers, says Gunnar Hellsten, senior advisor at SIIR.
– Our aim is not to get customers to buy more, but to buy the right thing. Returns cost the companies a great deal of money and wrong purchases waste the earth's resources.
One of the collaboration partners is Strålfors, who works with communication solutions.
– We want our communications to be effective, therefore we would like to learn more about our customers' challenges. How to get customers to the store, for example.
Says Henrik Kihlberg, sales manager for the marketing communications department at Strålfors.
He believes the fact that the experiments have their own room makes the entire exchange of knowledge more creative.
– The demos available here mean you see the future of commerce in a completely new way.
Text: Lina Färm
Photo: Klas Svensson