Marketing & CX Strategy

The Top 8 Innovative Retail Experiences in San Francisco

23 Jan 2019, Owen Frivold

iPhone screen showing the innovative digital experience of Cafe X in San Francisco

Every day there’s a new article about the demise of retail. Whether it’s the diminishing market cap of Macy’s on par with the worth of its real estate holdings or the power of Amazon to crush competition across sectors, many analysts posit that retail is dead.

But we disagree. Retail isn’t dead, it’s transforming. Omnichannel innovation is now required for all brands in the industry, from direct-to-consumer startups to traditional behemoths.

Hero Digital’s headquarters is in the heart of San Francisco, so we’re constantly surrounded by the hype about new, futuristic technology that promises to disrupt every industry. Retail is no exception.

But we believe that disruptive innovation doesn’t have to feel like a science fiction movie or like the industry futurists’ view of what shopping will be like in 2030. Retail innovation could be an AI-powered chatbot sharing personalized offers through an augmented reality interface that relies on beacons and geo-fencing, but subtler features can provide an equally useful and seamless experience. In fact, a 2018 study showed that the in-store technology that customers most want retailers to adopt is free public Wi-Fi access, not sensor-embedded body suits that create a shopping avatar to enable custom-fit ordering.

To break through the futuristic hype and show the customer-centric view of innovative retail, Hero Digital has developed the Innovative Retail Walking Tour of San Francisco.

We selected the top 8 omnichannel experiences in the city and created a two mile course that shows the possibilities of seamless retail technology. We’ve classified their CX features (such as showrooming, facial mapping, and nonstandard checkout) and applied our human interaction framework (a spectrum of technology for support to specialized experience) to analyze how these experiences elevate customer engagement.

If you’re in San Francisco, the walking tour can help you break through an afternoon slump or create a team outing that inspires curiosity and innovation. It’s a firsthand look at how retail intersects with Silicon Valley digital transformation.

Not in the Bay Area? Many of the selected retailers have locations nationwide, and the guidebook itself can spark your creative thinking and provide an inside look at the retail (r)evolution we’re seeing today.

Download our Innovative Retail Walking Tour Guidebook now.