1. Technology & Innovation

Shortening the distance between inspiration and commerce: RTIH pulls together this week’s coolest retail technology plays

RTIH Editor, Scott Thompson, brings you his top ‘future of retail’ systems launches and deployments from the past week, including Walmart, Hugo Boss, Zippin, Tesco, PepsiCo, The LEGO Group, M&S, Polytag, DoorDash and Ulta Beauty.

Hugo Boss

Hugo Boss has unveiled Hugo Boss XP, an omnichannel membership experience based around the brand’s customer app.

This blends traditional loyalty features, such as levels and points, with blockchain supported elements.

The programme incorporates initial Web3 features with the aim of opening new customer engagement opportunities.

Members can collect and redeem tokens (NFTs) through their purchases and other interactions across channels and brands.

They act as keys to unlock exclusive products, unique brand experiences, and further offers from Boss and Hugo or sponsorship and cooperation partners. Part of the plan is the future possibility for customers to trade tokens.


Walmart Realm has gone live, pitched as a first of its kind immersive commerce marketplace featuring influencer driven virtual shops.

This leverages technology from Emperia and gamifies the shopping journey, transporting customers into fantastical realms where they can interact with products and play nostalgic online games.

In a LinkedIn post, Justin Breton, Director of Brand Experiences & Strategic Partnerships, said: “Introducing Walmart Realm, the first ever immersive commerce experience curated by creators and inspired by social trends. Trust me when I say… You’ve never experienced online shopping like this before.”

“Walmart Realm embraces the limitless possibilities of virtual technologies, creating stunning shoppable environments to inspire our customers. Said differently, it’s not just a replica of a store or structure.”

“We’re continuing to shorten the distance between inspiration and commerce, highlighting the best fashion, beauty, and home products as selected by our creator partners, in each virtual shop.”


To promote the Ninja Double Stack XL Air Fryer, TV presenter and maitre d’ Fred Sirieix has opened the doors to the company’s new  Double Stacked Air Fryer Restaurant on London’s Southbank.

Guests attending the pop-up experience get to try three courses, all made in the Ninja Double Stacked Air Fryer, for free.  

Dishes include Chilli Rayu and Mexican Salmon.

Sirieix comments: “Ninja is breaking boundaries and redefining what’s possible in the kitchen.”

“The Ninja Double Stack Air Fryer XL and the stacked food concept are all about pushing the limits of culinary creativity and giving home cooks the tools, they need to unleash their inner chef.” 

FLX Logistics

Dexory has deployed DexoryView, its AI and robotics solution, at the warehouse facility of FLX Logistics, part of the Freshlinc Group, in Peterborough, United Kingdom. 

“We are always looking for ways to enhance efficiency and accuracy across our operations,” says Sam Goodger, General Manager for the FLX Logistics site at Peterborough.

“Using DexoryView from the outset at our new facility provides us with unparalleled real-time data on stock accuracy that empowers our team to drive the business forward.”

In a recent implementation, at FLX Logistics’ new facility, spanning 140,000 square feet and housing products ranging from diverse food products, raw materials and finished goods, Dexory unveiled its DexoryView solution, featuring autonomous mobile robotics (AMRs) and an integrated digital twin.  

FLX Logistics was able to generate data from the outset to ensure it had stock accuracy from the opening of the new warehouse.

This combines with having access to real-time data of the warehouse on an ongoing basis.

Lacoste Turkey

Lacoste Turkey, under the umbrella of Eren Group, has announced a partnership with GardeRobo AI, a fashion e-commerce personalisation platform.

The aim here is to provide online shoppers with engaging outfit recommendations based on their style preferences and website interactions, while also boosting the brand’s average order value and units per transaction rates.

A pilot will be launched on Lacoste Turkey’s website, with plans for global expansion in the future.

Lacoste’s digital merchandising team previously spent significant time manually updating e-commerce product recommendations. With GardeRobo’s AI powered tool, they’ve been able to automate this process, saving up to 98% of their time.

This allows them to focus on higher value tasks such as branding and content strategy. GardeRobo’s Total Look widget offers outfit recommendations in collages or carousels, featuring both flat and on-model photos.

The customisable recommendation collages enable shoppers to easily swap out items.

LEGOLAND Windsor Resort

Zippin and Aramark UK have partnered with LEGOLAND Windsor Resort to launch Europe’s first checkout-free store in a theme park. The store, which recently opened for the 2024 season, lets resort guests grab items without having to join a queue.

DUPLO Coffee Co, located in DUPLO Valley, sells a variety of sandwiches, snacks, coffee, and other drinks.

It was converted into a Zippin powered store where guests can enter with a credit card or mobile wallet, take what they want, and exit.

There are no checkout lines and no stopping to scan purchases. Guests are automatically billed for what they take as they exit.

DoorDash and Ulta Beauty

DoorDash and Ulta Beauty have announced an expanded partnership to offer on-demand delivery from over 1,350 stores across all 50 US states.

People can now shop Ulta Beauty’s assortment of more than 25,000 products from over 600 brands spanning  the likes of cosmetics, fragrances, skincare, hair care, wellness, exclusively on the DoorDash app.

The tie up marks the first time all of DoorDash’s monthly active users can order from a beauty retailer in all 50 states. This builds on DoorDash’s recent entry into new categories across retail and grocery to broaden its selection.

Consumers can browse and discover their favourite beauty essentials within the dedicated Beauty tile on DoorDash and receive their items delivered straight to their door in under an hour, on average.

Tesco and PepsiCo

Tesco Media and Insight Platform has announced a new partnership with PepsiCo around its sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League, the final of which takes place on Saturday, 1st June.

The former is a partnership between Tesco, the UK’s largest grocery retailer, and dunnhumby, a specialist in customer data science.

In a LinkedIn post, it said: “Celebrating a Tesco Media first with our PepsiCo Wembley store takeover!”

“We are thrilled to announce a new partnership with PepsiCo around their sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League. For the first time ever, Tesco Wembley has undergone an exciting store wrap to celebrate this iconic event.”

It added: “This collaboration is more than just a visual transformation – it’s about creating an immersive experience for our customers.”

“Together with PepsiCo, we are bringing the spirit of the UEFA Champions League to life in-store. Shoppers can look forward to engaging activities, exclusive promotions, and the chance to win amazing prizes.”

It concluded: “Our goal is to make every visit to Tesco Wembley a memorable one. Join us in-store to be part of the excitement and share in the celebration of the beautiful game. Here’s to creating unforgettable moments and championing great partnerships.”


Last week, 200 M&S colleagues from across Stores, Clothing and Home, Digital and Technology teams came together for the retailer’s ninth 24 hour hackathon, powered by BEAM Academy.

The event was all about innovation and problem solving as 17 teams focused on opportunities to better serve customers and run the Clothing & Home business.

From digital outfit recommendations to improving the M&S bra fit proposition, employees worked around the clock to bring to life digital first solutions.

Womenswear Director and sponsor for the event, Maddy Sillem (Evans), said “Well done to everyone who took part. I’ve been thrilled to support the event.”

“It’s been great to see teams come together from across business areas, stretching themselves and incorporating insight to keep colleagues and customers at the heart of solutions – all while using the power of digital to accelerate these strategic opportunities.”

The LEGO Group

The LEGO Group has added a space immersive experience at its store in Leicester Square, London.

In a LinkedIn post, Martin Urrutia, Global Head Retail Experience & Innovation at LEGO, said: “Storytelling spaces in retail are key to engaging visitors and offering them a memorable customer experience.”

“Have you ever imagined landing a LEGO spaceship inside a store, inviting guests onboard, and letting them travel to any of the ten LEGO planets featured in our campaign? During their visit, they can enjoy many other exciting experiences.”

He added: “This new zone brings LEGO Space products to life for kids of all ages, creating a dedicated storytelling area that engages kids and families with this amazing collection. We are excited to see how this new area transforms shopping into an experience-based activity.”


Walmart last week opened a new 1.5 million square foot fulfilment centre ten miles north of Hagerstown, located at 1915 Ebberts Spring Court in Greencastle, Pennsylvania.

This is Walmart’s fourth next generation facility.

A fifth was recently announced that will open in 2026. These facilities bring the combination of people, technology and machine learning together to achieve faster shipping and delivery, while increasing Walmart.com order fulfilment capacity.

The latest one will contribute to expanded access to the retailer’s next- or two-day shipping.

Combined with the rest of its fulfilment network, these centres will enable the retailer to reach 95% of the US population with the service. Walmart Fulfillment Services, Walmart’s end-to-end third-party fulfilment service, will also leverage the space to fulfil Marketplace items.

Polytag and Marks and Spencer

Polytag has announced M&S as a founding member of its Ecotrace Programme, an initiative focused on the tracing and recycling of single-use plastic packaging in the UK.

This will deploy a network of Polytag’s Invisible UV Tag detection equipment in strategically chosen recycling centres that handle high volumes of waste.

FMCG brands, retailers, and waste management businesses are invited to get involved in the programme to unlock granular data on over 50% of the UK’s household waste recycling stream.

As a founding member of the programme, M&S, will gain real-time insights into where, when, and how much of its single-use plastic packaging is collected and sorted at recycling centres across the UK.

This data – at barcode level – will provide a verified benchmark for understanding recycling rates of its used plastic packaging.

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