Forbes: Out of beer and the queue’s too long. What does commerce of the future look like?

The road to digitalised retail has been laid out. Take a look at Commerce of the Future through the eyes of our Forbes editor. Displays by the entrance with a personalised greeting, apps featuring expanded reality and mobile games, a mirror that communicates with customers, a smart shelf and dashboards are all designed by Adastra.

There wouldn’t have been anything unusual about the shop if I hadn’t been welcomed at the entrance by a large screen with a personalised greeting.

There wouldn’t have been anything unusual about it if I hadn’t been asked to point my smartphone at the coffee machines. Through expanded reality I find out some information about the product which, truth be told, isn’t that interesting. But suddenly a mobile game, in which I have to hit individual coffee machines with capsules, starts. I do well at it and get a discount on my purchases.

I continue to the clothes section. I try on a t-shirt and the mirror tells me that it looks great – but maybe I should try out it in medium size. Fair enough. And while I’m choosing things, everything’s running smoothly and systematically in the shop’s ‘back end’.

None of the employees wanders around the aisles randomly; all of them know exactly what they have to do and when. The shelves are fitted with weight sensors and automatically give out a signal when there aren’t enough goods on the shelf. The smart camera system can also see that not only is there not enough pilsner, but that the display’s untidy.

Staff are informed of mistakes through the internal communication platform. Whoever’s nearest presses the “Going there” button in the app and goes to where the issue is. The same thing happens if a customer recognised by the system as a woman aged around 31 is looking around and needs assistance. “Going there”.

Next, a queue barely forms at the tills as the smart camera system again intervenes to predict it.

And because everything takes place on the impressive omnichannel, while I’m buying things in the coffee e-shop it recommends a complimentary (not random!) item to go with my purchases. Naturally there’s also a chatbot and, if that can’t answer my difficult questions, I’m put in touch with a human operative within a second in real time.

This is roughly what the retail vision presented by Microsoft in cooperation with a number of Czech start-ups and tech firms at this year’s Retail Summit looks like in practice.

The list of companies includes Feedyou, creators of probably the best chatbots in the Czech Republic, and Mluvii with its entire communication platform, including written, spoken, and video communication. Karlín-based Adastra contributed a camera solution that recognises gender and estimates age, while Motionlab creates the personalised videos. Shelfmonitor monitors shelf loads in real time and Ydistri tells shop assistants where to move goods that aren’t selling well so that they can finally be sold.

All businesses involved in the system confirm that its solutions are, to a greater or lesser extent, used by real-world clients. So let’s take on Amazon Go.

Source:, February 5, 2020.