Valora setting up innovation lab in San Francisco

Originally published on February 9, 2016.

Retail is not immune to disruption. Might as well be ahead of the game. Recently, we’ve seen the launch of new services like Posmates, Instacart or Starbucks Mobile Order change how people get their food. In brick and mortar shops, people use smartphones to compare prices, read reviews, and pay. And, this is just the beginning. Very soon, we will interact with robots to find products and use VR and AR to buy our next car.

Valora — a European retailer serving more than 1,5 million customers daily — is committed to embrace new technologies and offer the ultimate digital experience to its customers. Last summer, Valora opened an innovation lab in Zurich to lead new digital initiatives that will help the company achieve its goals. The Spettacolo app was one of the lab’s first initiatives to go to market and the first service of this kind in Switzerland. The app allows you to pre-order food and drinks and skip the line.

Because Silicon Valley is an epicenter for innovation — retail included — Valora kicked-off year 2016 by expanding the innovation lab and setting-up a presence in San Francisco, where entrepreneurs and big companies alike are transforming the way people shop. Valora is joining other major retailers like Walmart, Westfield, Target or Amazon that also created labs in Silicon Valley.

I am proud to be in charge of Valora Lab’s San Francisco antenna — running the show out of Bespoke, a place that provides a space and community for retail startups and companies. In the space, located inside the Westfields mall, Bespoke residents build some of the hottest new retail technologies and products. The lab in San Francisco will focus on detecting emerging trends, connecting with innovative retail companies, and prototyping new ideas.

In a recent retail survey study, 85% of consumers said they prefer to shop at physical stores vs. online. With more than 2500 high frequency locations across Europe, Valora is in a unique position to become a platform where digital and physical experience converge. Stay tuned!

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