Leading the way out of crisis
Lotte Duty Free’s Smart Store minimises face-to-face shopping contact
In times of crisis retailers have to get smart. And that is precisely what South Korea’s travel retail giant, and world number two, Lotte Duty Free, is being with the launch of Smart Store, an innovative non-face-to-face shopping platform.
Lotte Duty Free, South Korea’s largest travel retailer, has opened the sector’s first ‘Smart Store’ – a hi-tech zone on the first floor of its flagship Myeong-dong store in Seoul. With the COVID-19 crisis likely to have lasting consequences on the world of retail, the company believes that non-face-to-face shopping will accelerate fast.
The 520sq m Smart Store was created over the past month in a redevelopment of the retailer’s Star Avenue Corner [Lotte Duty Free’s hallyu or Korean wave concept -Ed].
“The Lotte Duty Free Smart Store is the first future store in the industry that enables a new digital experience,” said CEO Kap Lee. “Lotte Duty Free will continue to strive to provide such innovative shopping services in the future.”
Lotte Duty Free said that the new zone features differentiated services from each brand, such as virtual make-up demonstrations.
The Smart Store features a range of beauty products, including cosmetics, perfumes, and beauty devices. By applying digital technology to offline stores, the customer experience is enhanced, and face-to-face contact is minimised to create a fast and pleasant shopping environment without waiting, the retailer said.
Lotte Duty Free is addressing the future of travel shopping in the post-COVID-19 era with its Smart Store innovation
Customers visiting the Smart Store first scan the QR code installed at the store entrance with their smartphone, thus allowing them to access a dedicated mobile cart. When the customer sees a product they like, they scan the product-specific bar code to check product details, reviews, inventory quantities and other details and add it directly to their mobile cart.
Once a customer is finished shopping, they simply show a QR code (unique to each transaction) and pay in a consolidated purchase.
The Smart Store technology caters for Korean and foreign customers. Mobile cart access QR codes can also be scanned with WeChat, China’s largest mobile messaging platform, and detailed product-specific information is available in four languages: Korean, English, Japanese and simplified Chinese.
In the smart store, leading global cosmetics brands such as SK-II, Shiseido and Estée Lauder enter the store and showcase differentiated digital shopping services by brand.
SK-II, for example, offers an I-Magic Ring Bar that recommends products suitable for a customer’s skin through diagnosis based on five factors that determine skin age. Japanese beauty house Shiseido explains products through an LED screen in a ‘digital store’ that features lighting switched on according to the selected item.
Brands are already buying into the new service and overlaying them their own digital solutions
Estée Lauder introduces a virtual makeup service based on augmented reality (AR) technology that makes it easy and fun for customers to find the lipstick they want, while a digital device, ‘Digital Shade Finder’, allows them to discover the colour that best matches individual skin tone.
It’s not simply about digital shopping services; a differentiated shopping experience is also provided. La Prairie Facial Cabin, a spa service room that provides skincare services from the ultra-premium Swiss skincare brand, features a beauty influencer who works as a Lotte Duty Free model.
‘Bitti’ which sells an array of curated products, enters the travel retail channel for the first time.
Lotte Duty Free said that it plans to expand the concept to other offline stores at home and abroad.
With this opening of this Smart Store, Lotte Duty Free is aiming to increase the convenience of customer shopping through new technology. Crucially too, it aims to spur a wave of transformation amid changing consumer sentiment driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Moodie Davitt eZine
Issue 278 | 7 April 2020
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