Creating a Smart Retail Experience With the Interactive Wall Kit

Listening to the news it would be easy to think that brick and mortar retail is dying. However, the reality is not so straightforward. The truth is that the in-person shopping experience is at a crossroads, where customer needs and expectations are driving significant changes to the traditional retail experience, and smart retail technology like the Interactive Wall Kit is playing a massive role in shaping and transforming the future high street, providing an off the shelf easy-to-use set of tools to build interactive displays. 

Despite all the negative press, it is estimated that in 2019, 90% of retail sales in the US still took place in physical stores. Research also suggests that in-store shopping is still the preferred retail channel for 82% of Millennials. A study by Synchrony found that customers are looking to experience driven retail, where the shop as a showroom replaces the traditional counter and till concept. More significantly, customers are willing to pay up to 31.6% more for a curated brand experience.

There is no question that consumers have increasingly high expectations from their favorite brands. In a world where social media requires round the clock engagement in order to build brand awareness, future-facing retailers are looking beyond price and service and turning to immersive shopping experiences to capture customer engagement and loyalty. A recent survey by Accenture, based on interviews of nearly 3,000 consumers, and 100 retail industry executive decision-makers, concluded that consumer appetite for immersive technology is high. With a majority of individuals wishing to use it in their shopping experience. Gen Z and Millenials particularly expressed excitement over the integration of digital technology into the retail experience.

Already physical retail is using many different kinds of interactive technology to differentiate and design the in-store experience. This includes QR codes, touch screens, imaging software, virtual reality, augmented reality, digital price tags, facial recognition, automated checkouts, interactive windows and displays.

At Bare Conductive, we find that one powerful way of providing a unique shopping experience that is beneficial to both consumer and retailer is by integrating smart surface technologies such as interactive smart retail displays into the store. Our capacitive sensing technology enables the integration of interactive displays and digital signage directly into the environment, creating powerful interactions to both engage the shopper, and gain better insights into customer behavior and intent. These interactions and data can be used by retailers to create a personalized shopping experience, drive conversions, improve customer experience, and differentiate from the competition.

Alibaba Interactive Wall

A recent case study that illustrates how our technology can be applied to interactive smart retail experiences comes from a project from our community.

Wall and Wall is a professional mural painting studio located in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a focus on corporate murals and interactive walls for events and offices. They have previously used Bare Conductive technologies in their Ellucian Live project, and in an installation at the Cal Academy of Science in San Francisco. Their clients range from small businesses to large technology companies, and the projects from smart retail displays, speciality lobby murals, to immersive experiences at corporate events.

For this project, Wall and Wall partnered with Alibaba, one of the largest e-commerce businesses in the world, to simulate a retail store through the creation of an interactive wall. The brief? To create an interactive display to showcase products within a smart store in a simulated shopping mall.

The goal was to create a simple and innovative interactive experience that would showcase popular products and capture customer interaction, using generic visuals that could be applied towards multiple brands and products. A key element was making an interactive display that would provide a more personal and tactile immersive experience than the traditional digital signage and kiosk screens that are commonly found in many shopping malls in Asia.

In order to achieve this, the team at Wall and Wall built an interactive wall using the Interactive Wall Kit with a series of integrated sensors to output light and sound as different visual elements were touched. It was important for the client that each lighting interaction had a unique output, so one of the challenges involved creating distinct triggers for each sensor. This is where the use of Bare Conductive’s capacitive sensing technology came into play, enabling the creation of a range of interactions and gestural interfaces using touch and proximity as inputs.

Each sensor was programmed to trigger a different sound or animation. The lamp has a dimming interface, the phone lights up for the same amount of time as the accompanying ringing sound, and the diamond ring pulses light to resemble a natural sparkle. The remainder of the objects are connected to sounds to bring life to the objects. At 10’x8′ in size, this permanent installation exemplifies how capacitive sensors are easy to integrate at large scale and low-cost.

Feedback from Alibaba indicated that users were impressed by the possibility of creating an experiential retail interface simply by using touch on a seamless surface. Users were excited to try out the interactive wall and were excited with the activation of light and sound when touching the mural. The integration of sensors directly into the built environment without the need for tangible buttons or switches provided a magical quality to the interaction, which is the power of using Bare Conductive’s smart surface technology.

In this project the client brief was limited to triggering visual and audio outputs to engage the customer through a touch interface, however, the same underlying technology can be used to capture data into customer‘s behavior, such as which visuals they interacted with the most, how frequently, and over what period of time, providing valuable insights for the retailer.

Smart surfaces will transform retail

As retailers evolve and develop integrated strategies for using technology to create interactive retail experiences, designing truly engaging and unique environments that both connect shoppers with their brands while providing key insights into consumer behavior, will be invaluable. Bare Conductive’s smart surface technology provides a powerful set of tools to integrate and capture data, from sensors in the smart store environment. Whether you’re looking to create a temporary immersive retail experience or a permanent solution, our technology offers a multitude of opportunities.

For more information on how we work with industrial partners to develop scalable solutions make sure to visit the Technology page.

Explore our products, or check out our Blog and Resources pages, where you can find more inspiration and information on how to use our technology.

Images & Video: Wall and Wall