British media outlet Retail Insider named Aila’s collaboration with Rent the Runway one of the most innovative technology solutions in retail, highlighting the self-check-out and drop-off stations at the fashion apparel rental service in the “2018 Digital Retail Innovations Report.” Subsequently, Retail Insider caught up with Jason, our CEO, to discuss Aila’s evolution, how retailers are using our hardware, and the future of retail technology.
Here are some highlights from the Q&A:
Aila Technologies was founded shortly after the launch of the first iPad. We saw an incredible opportunity for retailers to use this new sleek, powerful, versatile device to solve a number of immediate needs – from eye-catching displays to interactive experiences throughout the store. Over the years, Aila’s product offerings have evolved from simple iPad docks to a full suite of iOS-based, scanning-enabled kiosks and handheld devices.
As consumer technology continues to outpace traditional retail hardware in terms of features and overall value, we’re seeing tremendous opportunities for retailers to move from clunky, single-purpose devices to smarter, integrated technology stacks that truly enable innovation and can meet the urgent need for retailers to add digital optimization and experiences into their physical stores.
The evolution of Aila products
Our product set is continuously evolving as we look to help enterprises better leverage digital tools and efficiencies in the physical world. Our innovation around scanning has been a major evolutionary leap for us: with the quality of cameras in consumer mobile devices continuing to grow, we’ve developed technologies that can re-purpose their incredible optics and imaging capabilities to accurately capture 1D/2D barcodes, IDs, loyalty cards and more.
This includes enhancements to aiming, illumination, feedback, and, most importantly, scanning speed. Also, by using the camera for scanning, we don’t need to attach additional scanning engines or optical hardware, which means that our scanning-enabled devices are incredibly sleek and ergonomic.
Retailers innovating with Aila products
Retailers are using our products in some really interesting ways, which speaks both to the versatility of our offering and the broad demand for engaging digital touch-points. Rent the Runway installed our Interactive Kiosk in its brick-and-mortar locations as self-service touch-points for customers to quickly pick up and return items, browse all available styles, and easily check in-store inventory.
It’s a use case we find really exciting because the ways in which Rent the Runway customers are using the kiosks have led the company to rethink some core components of its strategy around brick-and-mortar.
We’re going to continue doing everything we can to elevate the conversation about how technology can be used. Beyond the point solutions of the past, we want retailers to think about their technology stack as a platform for innovation—upon which they can test, learn and evolve. This will mean delivering more engaging experiences and streamlining operations for smarter, more seamless interactions—without getting locked into clunky, expensive hardware that can’t adapt to changing needs. We know that consumer expectations will continue to change, and we want to make sure retailers are ready to evolve and meet those needs.
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