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Get Schooled in Retail Technology at GDS

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The convergence of technology and footwear will be a hot topic at GDS in Dusseldorf, Germany Feb. 10-12. Digital and virtual solutions as well as smart shop concepts, such as touchscreens, barcode scanners and tablets, will have a place along the trade fair’s highlight route.

Each season, GDS creates a path of must-see brands, companies and resources. As online sales and omnichannel become a greater focus, GDS Director Kirsten Deutelmoser said brick-and-mortar retailers must adjust to structural changes going on in the footwear sector in order to stay competitive. The show aims to bridge that gap with a host of retail innovations on site.

Here’s a sneak peek at the technology highlights to be discovered at GDS.

  • SLEM, the international innovation and education institute based in the Netherlands, will present an overview of future technology trends through three “living labs.” An interactive forum will showcase shoes, materials and health technologies of the future. Students from SLEM’s Master of Footwear Innovation program present alternative leather production, 3-D printed soles and sustainable leather finishes
  • Scanblue, a marker leader in 3-D scanning systems and virtual reality, will offer e-commerce solutions specifically with footwear in mind. The company will debut an app that allows users to scan their feet with their phone to virtually see how a shoe will fit.
  • For brands and retailers interested in offering custom product, Schuhleister will explain its standardized and automated process to create custom fashion shoes with the highest precision of fit possible.
  • Digital screens and their potential as marketing tools  will be discussed by I&W, a Munich-based tech startup that has designed an interactive monitor for video and audio files, slide shows and more that can hang on steel cables from a ceiling or like a picture on the wall. To contrast, Ernst Medienwerksatt will present screens as small as matchboxes that can be incorporated into marketing materials.
  • MetraLabs will put their retail robots to work for GDS attendees. The company develops, produces and sells robots that can perform  fully automated inventory checks in stores by navigating the store and scanning RFID tags.
  • Phizzard puts the consumer in control with touchscreens and barcode scanners that allow them to see what shoe sizes are available and what other similar shoes might fit better. Sales associates receive a message if the customer selects an item on the screen.
  • Sound Experts and Voitair help set the stage for a memorable shopping experience. Sound Stage will present SONAB System 9, a wireless sound system that can be integrated into a three-part lighting program. Meanwhile, Voitair plays with scent as an emotional stimulus that can impact purchasing behavior. The Munich-based company, who’s clients include Buberry London and Porsche Design, will share how it creates special fragrances for the footwear industry with chemical-free perfume bases.

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