SOUTH KOREA. Lotte Duty Free, the country’s largest travel retailer and world number two, has opened the sector’s first ‘Smart Store’ – a hi-tech zone on the first floor of its flagship Myeong-dong store in Seoul.
The Smart Store, created over the past month in a redevelopment of the retailer’s Star Avenue Corner [Lotte Duty Free’s hallyu or Korean wave concept -Ed], minimises face-to-face contact and offers a fast and comfortable shopping environment.
“The Lotte Duty Free Smart Store is the first future store in the industry that enables a new digital experience,” said CEO Kap Lee. “Lotte Duty Free will continue to strive to provide such innovative shopping services in the future.”
Lotte Duty Free’s 520sq m Smart Store features a range of beauty products, including cosmetics, perfumes, and beauty devices. By applying digital technology to offline stores, the customer experience is enhanced, and face-to-face contact is minimised to create a fast and pleasant shopping environment without waiting, the retailer said.
Customers visiting the Smart Store first scan the QR code installed at the store entrance with their smartphone, thus allowing them to access a dedicated mobile cart. When the customer sees a product they like, they scan the product-specific bar code to check product details, reviews, inventory quantities and other details and add it directly to their mobile cart.
The Smart Store technology caters for Korean and foreign customers. Mobile cart access QR codes can also be scanned with WeChat, China’s largest mobile messaging platform, and detailed product-specific information is available in four languages: Korean, English, Japanese and simplified Chinese.
SK-II, for example, offers an I-Magic Ring Bar that recommends products suitable for a customer’s skin through diagnosis based on five factors that determine skin age. Japanese beauty house Shiseido explains products through an LED screen in a ‘digital store’ that features lighting switched on according to the selected item.
Estée Lauder introduces a virtual makeup service based on augmented reality (AR) technology that makes it easy and fun for customers to find the lipstick they want, while a digital device, ‘Digital Shade Finder’, allows them to discover the colour that best matches individual skin tone.
It’s not simply about digital shopping services; a differentiated shopping experience is also provided. La Prairie Facial Cabin, a spa service room that provides skincare services from the ultra-premium Swiss skincare brand, features a beauty influencer who works as a Lotte Duty Free model.
Through the opening of this Smart Store, Lotte Duty Free said that it expects to increase the convenience of customer shopping through “cutting-edge” technology. It aims to spur a wave of transformation amid changing consumer sentiment driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company added.
Lotte Duty Free said that it plans to expand the concept to other offline stores at home and abroad.
A notable example is L’Oréal’s virtual makeup service ModiFace, a new augmented reality try-on makeup service launched last December with L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific. At the time, the partners said it was the first online make-up try-on experience of its kind in Asia Pacific travel retail.