Coles launch their Retail Evolution Lab


The Australian retailer Coles have opened a Retail Evolution Lab which showcases what digital could look like in a supermarket.  There is an innovative display of health food showing a combination of a display screen, a touch tablet and digital E labels on the shelf edge – all connected to a Content Management System. The aim is to provide customers with additional information to help them choose the right product, and then navigate them straight to the shelf where it is displayed.

Instead of printed price tickets on the ends of an aisle, digital screens display special offers that catch the eye of the customer. Facial recognition software tracks the shoppers who are looking at the screen and reports on the age and gender of those looking at it.

A good example of the new generation of digital shelf price labels, developed by AOpen technicians, which combine the power of video and animated graphics with the functional requirement for price and product information, bar codes and inventory management tools.

The lab has been built as part of a partnership between digital signage group AOpen and retail designer Red Design Group. It also showcases content management tools from Fujitsu and cameras and facial recognition tools designed to track customer interactions from Intel.

In future, there will be a convergence of online, in-store and mobile applications to allow retailers to more effectively engage with customers, said Don Fraser, chairman of Red Design Group, and the founding director of Safeway in Australia.

“Customers are desperately looking for information… In-store digital allows customers to self educate with a minimum of staff assistance,” Fraser said.




Seamless Video Wall
An extremely thin bezel on each screen makes this video wall look practically seamless and with the sophistication of the Fujitsu’s digital media system, Telentice, designers have great freedom to create animated content in video or Flash for single or multiple screens.

App Bar
As more customers embrace online and self-service technology in stores, the importance of mobile apps grows.  The App Bar concept consists of a service counter where customers can be assisted to download applications for their mobile devices. Customers can download apps anywhere, but at the App Bar specially trained staff can help to migrate customers to on-line transactions if they prefer, but also provide service and advice within the store.

Transparent Screen
Picture a screen that lights up in a stunning display of translucent colours and graphics. It’s a digital screen you can see and see through.  Visual merchandisers are going to
love this see-through technology as a unique way to create graphics in windows and in-store displays. There are also great opportunities to use the screen in place of a glass top on premium fixtures for fashion accessories and cosmetics as well as showcases for jewellery and watches.

This massive 65 inch screen was originally conceived as an interactive whiteboard for schools and universities.  It is a multi-touch device which allows up to 10 people to touch simultaneously.  An interactive digital tool that can be used for customer information, demonstration and education.

DIY Beauty Bar
This exhibit designed for the cosmetics market its the first of a new direction of self service devices which help customers select the right beauty products.   Customers select their skin type, tone and face shape and any special skin conditions. They are then shown a range of suitable colour cosmetics and skin care products as well as a selection of inspirational look books that show how they can create their own personal styles or choose looks that they wish to achieve.

Natural Selection Health & Wellness Centre
This is a taste of what supermarkets may look like when they install digital ecosystems on their fixtures to inform customers, navigate them to products and offer them solutions.  The technology on this display is from NuonView and consists of a uniquely shaped, narrow pelmet screen above the fixture, a touch tablet attached to the shelf, and the first prototypes of a brand new digital e-label or shelf ticket. The NuonView e-labels can handle normal price barcode content,  promotional graphics and even full
motion video for on-self branding and promotion.

Floor gondola – Price / Promotion Screens
Instead of paper or cardboard tickets, and as a digital alternative to flip-tickets, we have developed a low cost digital screen with an applied graphic surround that promotes products on special displays such as gondola ends. Using simple Flash animation we highlight basic information such as price, product and promotion, adding in motion graphics to highlight savings, capture promotional themes.

Wall gondolas
The screens used on these gondola ends are called media tiles due to their thin profile and modular design. Quite literally these “tiles” can be used singly as in these display or stacked together to form a video wall.

One response to “Coles launch their Retail Evolution Lab”

  1. roy tavenor says:


    I just wanted to correct one point in your great article about our Retail Evolution Lab

    Coles Supermarlets is not involved in the project – it is a JV between RED DESIGN GROUP and AOPEN as you correctly state elsewhere in your piece

    BTW its been very popular with many retailers and suppliers visiting since the March launch

    Thanks for your interest and we will keep you posted

    Roy Tavenor
    Managing Principal

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