In 2020, RetailDetail will launch ‘The Future of Shopping’ in the Stadsfeestzaal shopping centre in Antwerp. It will be a global first, as a 'live' lab at this scale - where retail chains and tech firms will test brand new concepts together and directly measure their results - does not exist anywhere at the moment.
A new experience for consumers and retailers
The Future of Shopping will add a very diverse range to the existing shopping centre, and will guarantee an extraordinary shopping experience. The partners in this retail lab will try out technological innovations like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, biometrics and face recognition, interactive communication systems, mobile payment solutions, digital loyalty systems and robotisation. They will be able to measure and analyse how consumers respond to all these innovations right away and all the time, of course with respect for the customers' privacy and local legislation.
For nine years, retailers will also be able to test the effect of new products, innovative changes to their store concept and new services. Shopping is to become a mixture of human, physical and digital experiences that blends experience with convenience and emotion with technology, and the best recipe for the future can be tested in The Future of Shopping.
Living retail laboratory of 5,500 sqm
“The choice for the Stadsfeestzaal is well-considered”, RetailDetail CEO Peter Somers says: “This is an iconic place in the heart of Antwerp's shopping area: an indoor shopping centre with 6.5 million visitors per year. These shoppers will also be able to shop at our Future of Shopping from next year, in the ideal space to test a new shopping experience. We will also move our offices here, in order to build a community of start-ups and established companies that can all learn from each other.”
The Future of Shopping will occupy 5,500 square metres on two floors, which used to house Saturn and Habitat. The initiative will attract visitors from far and wide to the shopping centre and to the city, because it will be the first retail laboratory on this scale on Earth. “This project is unique in the world,” Somers confirms: “Consumers will learn and understand what the future of shopping really is. Retailers and technology partners will work together here to raise their turnover, but also to gain useful insights and data. Connecting retail and people is central to everything RetailDetail does.”
Combining experience and innovation
Deputy Mayor for tourism and enterprises Koen Kennis is supportive of this project: “I am very enthusiastic about The Future of Shopping coming here. As a city, we welcome all initiatives that can stimulate our entrepreneurs to become future proof. Retailers nowadays are no longer subject to the survival of the strongest, but rather the survival of the smartest. The combination of experience and innovation will attract entrepreneurs as well as visitors to the gorgeous shopping centre that is the Stadsfeestzaal.”
The manager of Shopping Stadsfeestzaal is pleased as well: Hubert Stech, Managing Director Multi Germany and Benelux, explains that his company “is very pleased to welcome The Future of Shopping to the iconic Stadsfeestzaal. We are looking forward to the long and fruitful relation we will have with RetailDetail. We are happy that Shopping Stadsfeestzaal and the city of Antwerp will offer customers an additional experience, based on technologically innovating shopping."