1. What are some of the major challenges and trends that have been impacting the Retail Tech space lately?

Retails space definitely has been impacted by COVID; the online business and the omnichannel was already transforming the scenario but then the pandemic arrived and the entire compartment was subjected to a transformation acceleration.

The most important trends has been probably the Product Virtualization and in particular the pioneering adoption of high quality digital assets and Virtual Try On aka VTO.

As said the pandemic pushed retailer to find new ways to interact with consumers challenged with both assortment availability (due to production lockdowns) and hygienic challenges.

The combination of the two pushes naturally found a solution in product sample virtualization.

2. What keeps you up at night when it comes to some of the major predicaments in the Retail Tech space?

Let me say first that for SAFILO digital retails applies both to D2C and B2B.

Attracting and driving traffic to the digital store with compelling contents is definitely one of the main priorities for D2C but then you want also this traffic to be converted into a purchase.

From this prospective digital retail prospective for D2C and B2B both share a common need of fidelity when it comes to product representation, that for eyewear is particularly impactful in terms of the consumer choices and his willingness to confirm the buy. This has to do with the very intimate nature of an object that is supposed to fit nicely on you face both serving a purpose and still be fashionable on your face.

“Attracting and driving traffic to the digital store with compelling contents is definitely one of the main priorities for D2C but then you want also this traffic to be converted into a purchase.”

To partially overcome this challenge, we developed internally a specific hyper-focus on digital rendering and high quality synthetic images and 360 degree rendering; still we know we have to do more.

3. Can you tell us about the latest project that you have been working on and what are some of the technological and process elements that you leveraged to make the project successful?

One of the last projects I’ve been involved with, has been the implementation and the utilization of a Virtual Try On technology for B2B utilizing the technology of a digital start-up called Topology. Traditionally one of our bigger challenges when engaging buyer with digital tools without samples, the representation was considered lacking 3D color understanding and more than that the “fitting” information both for aesthetic fitting and anthropometric fitting. From a picture is often very hard to predict those aspects and the use of this new digital tools completely revolutionize the approach offering high finality solution for both problems.

4. Which are some of the technological trends which excite you for the future of the Retail Tech space?

Generally speaking I see an emerging trends into digital assets marketplaces for pure digital consumption so in a way “digital for digital”. Another one again is VTO technology that besides fueling D2C platforms are also compelling to who’s looking to  min-max the omni-channel experience and offer a new purchase path to the consumer that offer both the quickness of the “physical buy” of the retail while maintaining the “informed approach” of the online platform buying experience.

5. How can budding and evolving companies reach you for suggestions to streamline their business?

We are always open for confrontation but the best way to work with us is participating in a proof of concept project in a similar way to what I described with our internal VTO project. Our partners reached a commercial officer on the field and drag his interest with a promising demo; he consulted me as innovation director and we decided to go deeper ; after a few back and forth we decided to co-invest in this POC and now that it has been successful we are looking to future use scenarios and more service to be implemented.