What can we learn from Singapore?

Today’s [retail bytes] issue focuses on Asia, with a look at the latest tech in Singapore. A couple of our favourite stores of the month have also earned a mention – take a look below to find out more.

Facing Singapore: Singapore retailers have to think big – to attract a local crowd that has seen it all and ain’t gonna flash their cash on any ‘basic’ type of merch. Enter Samsung, the King of the Island or certainly of the Singapore high street as we know it. Last month saw the bosses there go to town to celebrate the launch of the Galaxy s9. To show off the slo-mo feature on the new phone Samsung designed a cute selfie booth that looks like a giant gift box, where at a press of the button the fans could trigger a confetti shower, beautifully captured using the magic slo-mo camera tool. You could also make your own avatar and have it projected on to the big screen (not quite minutes, but a 15 seconds of fame moment), then dive in to a darkish den and take a surprisingly good photo there, using the new Dark Shot camera feature. Just take my money, Mr. Samsung!

Changing at Changi? Late for your flight? Don’t worry. At Changi in Singapore the airport guys got your back. Simply smile for the camera and facial recognition will let the gates to flying heaven open wide. For now it’s a piloted solution just for those late for their flights, but having missed a bunch of planes courtesy of hopeless Luton and Stanstead airports I’m on board with using my body’s features to do anything to speed up the process of checking in.

E-face pay is here: Once your lovely face opens the gates, it can also pay at point-of-sale or for online purchases. Singapore is pushing for Smart Nation goals, where the elderly and young, who don’t carry cash, may be supported by facial recognition e-payments. To set up the payment online, shoppers will need to upload their photo and verify their ID. Once in place, getting on trains, checking in hotels and using e-face payments are possible. An Orwellian world is coming to us for sure, but convenience always wins so watch Singapore setting up e-face pay standards worldwide.

Charlotte magic mirror: Closer to home, your face is also of great interest to makeup brands in Europe. Fast on the heels of express blow dry bars, you can now try on 10 different makeup looks in less time than it takes to press a button on a Magic Mirror selection at Charlotte Tilbury. The brand have worked with Holition to save customers’ time, inviting them to a instant try of 10 different makeup looks without as much as a smudge of lipstick. How? Magic obvs (otherwise known as Augmented Reality): Snapchat-like filters that superimpose the ‘look’ on your own sweet face, but allowing for the shape of your eyes and lips, so it all fits perfectly. Vintage vamp? Disco diva? Both can be tried by just pressing the button and the mirror does all the work. Love it? You can add it to a database of preferred looks. One of the youngest brands on the block but it’s kicking the butt of Revlon and L’Oreal, just hitting that sweet spot by answering their customers’ needs (while collecting data that is used to remerchandise the product in real time).

Lush luxury: What’s in Lush’s bathbomb? For us ignorance is bliss when it comes to the cosmetics these days but Lush cosmetics has recognised that most millennials have a thirst for product knowledge. What’s the point of paying for your mobile if you can’t get ahead in stores and scan the product to get more info? Lush has created a Lush lens – customers can point at their weird and wonderful range of products and check on their mobiles what’s inside, the provenance and the best use. 92% of UK customers have mobiles and transparency is the new luxury. Retailers, be like Lush.