Launched in August 2015 in London, The Dandy Lab‘s Talking Shop is a great example of a Connected Store that has made waves across the retail technology landscape. Complete with beacons, magic mirrors, talking mannequins, and its own smartphone app, the store is an incredible showcase of the next generation of retail: small-format, maker-focused, digitally-enhanced.
The Dandy Lab curates and sells British-made design products inside its interactive Talking Stop, keeping the makers’ story at the forefront of the experience. Shoppers can use the accompanying smartphone app to access maker info, product details, personalized style recommendations, and even payment methods and an RFID loyalty card.
Powered primarily by Cisco and University College London, and in collaboration with small startups like Hoxton Analytics and Reward Technology, the store is “part fashion store, part retail lab.” In an interview with BDaily, co-founder Peter Juen Ho Tsang describes the store in “iterations,” noting that new technologies from multiple partners are tested often so the store is always changing and experimenting with new innovations.
Among the many new technologies being tested in the lab, mannequins with contained beacons act as fashionable visual aids and virtual assistants to shoppers, providing personalized greetings and store info. All of the items in the store are tagged with RFID tags, which allows shoppers to scan and purchase right from the aisle, without needing to interact with an employee or dedicated POS.
The store also boasts a footwear analysis system that uses cameras to examine a shopper’s shoes to help produce an initial customer profile. The system can detect customer ages, genders, and incomes with 75% accuracy—and zero privacy concerns. In an interview with Retail Dive, co-founder Julija Bainiaksina says they are even able to “see whether people who are entering the shop can afford our products, or if we should change the product selection based on who is coming in.”
From their first days as a pop-up shop to their current establishment, The Dandy Lab co-founders have already begun to plan their next location in London, with more stores likely to appear in new cities across the globe. “It is clear that the Dandy Lab, as a concept, can work just as ably in non-traditional retail environments as it can in traditional retail sites.”