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Like so many other tech buzzwords, “innovation” is ripe for ridicule. Overused and abused, it pretty much describes what every Silicon Valley start-up and stalwart is pushing. So what happens when you actually come across something innovative in the tech space? How do you describe it? Cool? Simple? Useful?

These thoughts came crashing down on me during a recent tour of SAP Hybris Labs, located in the heart of Munich. I’ve written about the mad genius of SAP Hybris Labs before - their smart beer shelf and bullseye demos always create a stir – but now that I’ve experienced the full monty, so to speak, I can’t help but think that it’s only a matter of time before retailers, manufacturers and anyone else that sells stuff is going to be all over Hybris Labs’ innovation (there, I said it) like flies to a rib-roast.

Let’s “Wine” About IoT

First stop on the tour is the aforementioned “smart shelf” but this time, the libation is wine. It’s a great use case for Internet of Things (IoT) and for retailers like Total Wine and BASF who are using this innovation (darn, said it again!) in the real world. Uncork the video below to learn more.

Funky Retail

As another great IoT use case, “Funky Retail” allows shoppers to learn more about products with a video component and in turn, retailers can better understand buying behavior. Here’s how it works: When shoppers pick up a product, a corresponding video plays with more details. On the back end, retailers can see how long shoppers hold a particular product or how long they stand in front of a showcase. Based on the data, one can figure out why a particular product might not be selling even if shopper interaction is robust.

No Room for Showrooming

Depending on who you ask, showrooming can either be a blessing or curse for retailers. In an attempt to make this shopping behavior more productive, Hybris created, “Infinite Cart” which allows shoppers to use a small, in-store device to scan products they are interested in. The anonymous data gives retailers an idea of products being scanned and shoppers get to take home a list of products they liked, to share with others for their thoughts, do more research and purchase. There’s a great B2B angle here too for professional buyers of clothing and other retail accessories. Sizes, colors and product types become much easier to scan and order.

RFID Powered Changing Room

This changing room prototype is designed to help make the shopping experience easier. As this blog post from Hybris Labs points out, another objective was to demonstrate the possibilities of combining innovative ideas with SAP Hybris software by adding new features like customer loyalty card detection on customer opt-in and transfer of products currently in changing room to customers shopping cart on mobile device via QR code. Try on the demo below.

Watch this space for more innovative news on what’s happening with SAP Hybris, including Pepper the Robot and Virtual Reality!