ARE RETAIL GALLERIES THE FUTURE OF THE HIGH STREET?

This week’s [retail bytes] takes a look at how retailers and financial giants are trying to tackle the issue of payment security, the smartest new wearables and the showroom future of the high street.

 If the suit fits… To be or not to be – that is the existential question troubling many a retailer. Bonobos, the US suit retailer has half an answer – showroom your beautiful fashion but don’t stock any. The magic of trying the suit on and feeling the texture of the luxury linen before deciding to buy it has a lot of appeal to many customers – is there a real need to cart the bag with the suit in through town? Not really. Bonobos carries no stock at their ‘Guideshops’ and will deliver your chosen purchase right to your door the next day – they’ve just opened their 20th store in the US, showing that customers approve.

These shoes were made for working: Sports shops are the new Gucci. We’re all athletes now, as the rise and rise of runners has led to a boom in digital fashion accessories, and a trip to a sports store is a whole new experience. Wearables are all the rage in sports shops and the Samsung-developed IOFIT smart shoe is one of the best we’ve seen, with built-in pressure sensors and accelerometers that will detect any problems in foot positioning and bad posture. It delivers feedback and analysis using a mobile app and, the most fun part, gives audio feedback in a gruff Clint Eastwood-like voice (you can choose from a number of voice options just like for your GPS). It’s not just a smart shoe but a personal trainer with personality included – watch the video here.

Love buzz: Wearables and smart jewellery were all the rage for Valentine’s Day – but don’t worry if you missed it. Wisewear is our top choice in the romantic bracelet category and it can be set to vibrate when you get a notification from that special someone. It can also be tapped in an emergency, sending a message to pre-coded numbers. But does it come in rose gold?

At the tip of a finger: Your finger knows who you are. It only takes 0.25 of a second to verify yourself using your fingerprint. The volume of data in a fingerprint makes it very hard to fake, and credit card companies have cottoned on to this – new pilots are starting on a card that includes a fingerprint reader. All you need to do is run your finger across your card to activate it and it can then be used! No PIN, no worries. Goldfinger? You bet.

Say cheese! Tilt your head and pay with a smile – Amazon is cracking down on password and PIN horrors too, and will introduce pay-by-selfie. A new patent has been spotted covering just that, showing that the online giant is getting exasperated with the old fashioned ways of security verification. However, in the age of advanced AI and facial recognition, the question remains: how secure will payment-by-face be? MasterCard has a patent too, but isn’t exactly rushing to get this out to the punters. Watch this space – exciting times ahead!