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Jun 15, 20244:27pm

Robots, face recognition and artificial intelligence, retail’s ‘new normal’

The commerce arrived late to the digitalization, but once has taken the wave it has accelerated in its integration. The first Retail&Brand Experience World Congress (Rbewc) in Barcelona collected the last innovations.

May 30, 2019 — 4:00pm
S. Riera

Robots, face recognition and artificial intelligence, retail’s new normal


The future is today. The first edition of Retail&Brand Experience World Congress (Rbewc) concluded yesterday in Barcelona after three days of exposition and presentations about the new dimension in which retail distribution is facing, with elements like robots, face recognition or artificial intelligence.


During three days, in the fairground Gran Via 2 of Fira de Barcelona were shown the last technological innovations that accelerate this sector’s digitalization, one of the last in joining this wake. On the same corridors of the exposition area it was usual to come across with robots that delivered assistance and information to the visitors.


The technological gadgets of the contest were various and came from around a hundred of companies that exposed in the event. Beyond robots, there were interactive mirrors, face recognition systems, screen that detect people’s moods to sell customized products or even intelligent labels that personalize prices and offers.




Another technological innovation that were seen on the event, and that are starting to be usual within the commerce, are the tools which allow to count the flow of visitors in an area, gadgets that measure which areas in a store are the most visited, or artificial vision systems that identify and charge the product without passing through the cashier.


One of the companies present in the event was Moca, a technological that takes advantage from geolocation to understand what consumers like. Its system integrates in brands’ mobile apps to extract data to be able to compete against giants like Amazon.


Its cofounder, María Fernanda González, explains that the main current challenge of the retail is the technology. “What retailers are doing well is that they have realized what they have to incorporate to their operations”, explains the executive. According to González, the main brake in the technological development is that is difficult to find specialized technological profiles because the big companies absorb them.  




Elena Foguet, Value Retail’s business director in Spain, also assisted to the event as an assessor of the organization committee. Foguet explained that its facilities in Spain are reinforcing the gastronomical and cultural offer to endow them of more content. In La Roca Village it is finalizing the opening of Mordisc and an agreement has been reached with Flax&Kale, while in Madrid it has been with Cristina Oria.


“Since a lot of time ago we are focused in hospitality mindset, with an obsession in the client to spend more time in the village”, explains the executive, who highlights that its main competitor is the spare time. “The technology cannot be abandoned, because what makes the difference is how the point of sale is going to communicate with the client beyond transaction”, states Foguet, who emphasizes that the human touch cannot be abandoned.


In parallel to the exposition area, the first edition of the event had a conference program, lectures and round tables that concentrated a total amount of 210 speakers in 120 presentations. Levi Strauss or Santa Eulàlia were some of the participating companies in the program.


One of the main conferences of the event was the one of Bernd Schmit, professor of Columbia University. Schmit, author of experiential marketing concept, stated that the retail’s future goes through robotics in all its forms. According to the expert, the studies published until show that the robots still create aversion, but it will be matter of time for them to be usual in all kinds of commerce.

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