Retail is Ready

On August 30th, 2012, presenting to a packed room of mentors from the FounderFuel accelerator, we pronounced that our technology platform’s first focus would be on retail. The monochromatic slide above is how we broke the news.

Were they convinced? Anything but. Retail isn’t ready, they said. Then, almost exactly a year later, Apple released the iBeacon with strong emphasis on in-store mobile shopping, prompting some of those mentors to ask us “hey, did you ever think about retail applications”?

Was retail ready in 2013? Absolutely not. Did that deter us from continuing to build out our technology platform? Of course not. Other verticals were ready for what we then called proximity identification and today call Smart Spaces. But now in 2016, retail is ready.

How do we know? Because we listened. We listened to what the captains of the Québec retail industry had to say at Hop! 2016, the CQCD‘s annual summit. Here’s what they said:

The future of retail in one word: “authenticity”. – Alexandre Taillefer, XPND Capital

We need to understand our client better, and to do so, we need to target the right technology. – Philippe Duval, CEO Uniprix

You can never stop investing in technology. Your technology platform only serves to improve the human experience. – Peter Simons, CEO Simons

Quebec retail is falling behind in technology, and it needs to catch up. – Alain Michaud,PwC

Collectively, and repeatedly, what we heard the Québec retail industry say at Hop! is the following:

We need to create authentic human experiences, and we need to appropriate the right technology that enables us to do so.

Retail is ready. Gone are the buzzwords for the sake of buzzwords. Absent are the technological silver bullets. The human is again at the centre of the retail equation, and technology is back behind the scenes, enabling the future of customer experience.

What is the future of retail customer experience? Here’s what we think. And yes, we too are ready.

(Version française de la présentation)