Technology: Bringing the Online Shopping Experience to Main Street

Retail is apparently in a state of continuous propulsion, fueled by ever faster trends and buyer behaviors, technological advancements and the growing influence of e-commerce. Sigma Projects Retail industry leader and pioneer Thomas Fletcher assesses the future of the brick and mortar store and explores innovative technologies that protect commercial spaces.

The industry saw the overall percentage of e-commerce retail sales rise to almost a third of all UK retailers in May 2020[1] – perhaps understandable given the extended lockdown periods and non-essential store closures. But before anyone declares Main Street is dead, sellers need to be aware of consumers’ innate desire for a physical retail experience.

In fact, research shows 69% of consumers surveyed miss the in-store experience[2]. While week after week, main streets saw an increase in footfall of 174%, malls by 217% and retail parks by 9.8% as England and Wales left the locking.[3].

As footfall returns to Main Street, it is clear that success lies in the ability of businesses to achieve large-scale technology deployment and effectively roll out domain-wide transformation programs to meet consumer needs. in a new market.

Whether this takes the form of implementing UV-C disinfection technology – whether in fitting rooms in retail stores, in store lighting infrastructures or as part of strip disinfection conveyors – electronic labeling of shelves or even innovative 3D holograms and virtual reality) is displayed, remains to be seen.

What is clear, however, is that deploying such innovations to encourage shoppers to return to stores requires a distinct shift in mindset. Builders and planners will not only need to carefully consider the technologies they can use to optimize spaces and improve the end-user experience, but also the very fabric of buildings and the consumers who occupy them.

A solid argument for technology

The remarkable influx of retail technology is already changing the perception of how consumers shop for products in stores and is re-conceptualizing shopping spaces across the UK.

A leading supermarket chain, for example, has tested more than 20 different technologies since launching the first phase of its transformation project in August 2019. The prominent grocery retailer has become one of the first stores in the world. UK to introduce 3D holograms. This technology is used to project three-dimensional images in the air in order to showcase products and provide information to customers.

Currently in place in the store’s bakery section, seasonal aisles, and Scan & Go points, 3D holograms provide an eye-catching way to display product information and offers for customers.

In addition, the store also connects customers with colleagues to answer questions about the availability of products with the latest headset technology and the installation of a dedicated device in the product aisle. Customers can have a two-way conversation with a colleague at the push of a button.

Such a progressive technological approach extends beyond the food aisles, with large-scale digital displays installed in the store’s clothing department. Displays of this nature allow retail brands to greet customers in a whole different way, with high resolution images and bespoke displays with clothing modeled by real people.

Electronic shelf labels are also increasingly common in stores, replacing the traditional paper price tags that customers normally see on shelves. It is expected that in the future electronic tags will be fully integrated into the retailer’s system so that any price changes can be loaded immediately.


Work with a partner like Sigma, with over 20 years of experience in transforming retail spaces, leading contractors, store designers and brand groups can seamlessly and cost-effectively deploy complex technology transformation programs in retail areas and truly achieve the potential of their spaces.

Such a partner can effectively manage transformation programs across domains while collaborating with their own internal project teams to facilitate and implement new innovation-driven concepts within agreed time frames, predetermined budgets and with minimal disruption to facilities and occupants.

Plus, all of this can be done to the highest standards of health and safety and quality assurance, with all NIC / EIC, ISO 18001 and Safe Contractor approved work.

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[1] [2],consumers’ % 20return% 20to% 20physical% 20shops. & Text = In% 20fact% 2C% 20research% 20montre% 20qui, from% 20Matterport% 20miss% 20this% 20experience. [3]

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