LISTEN: Shaping the Future of Digital Experiences

Nov 22, 2019

GDR SVP Global Innovation Alex Sbardella joined Microsoft’s Louise Watkins, Spiritland’s Paul Noble and famed podcaster Elizabeth Day to discuss the future of in-store digital experiences as part of the Shaping the Future by Regent Street podcast series.


GDR SVP Global Innovation Alex Sbardella believes retailers are faced with a fundamental choice about how they use digital and technology in-store.

Speaking as part of an expert panel on the Shaping the Future by Regent Street podcast series, Alex discussed the potential of automation, robots and AI in physical retail and explained why these can be a good thing and a bad thing for both shoppers and retailers.

Addressing AI specifically, he says: “The future is a return to that original goal of 19th century retail, that very personalised service, knowing all of your customers. And that’s where AI comes into that picture.

“Retailers now have a choice. They can use it how they’ve always used technology, as an opportunity to get rid of all the humans. The other side is to say: ‘If I go to a physical store what do I want? I probably want to talk to a person, they can make a massive difference.’

“So the smart retailers are saying, let’s give our people the tools and let’s use AI to make our humans better.”

Shaping the Future by Regent Street is a 10-part series hosted by journalist and broadcaster Elizabeth Day, of the award-winning “How to Fail” podcast series. Each episode features industry experts delving into different topics – spanning fashion, wellness, art, design, sustainability and more – to explore how they are changing and what we can expect next.

In the episode Shaping the Future of Digital Experiences Alex was joined by Louise Watkins, head of sector retail for Microsoft, and Paul Noble, co-founder and creative director of experiential London-based bar Spiritland. As part of the conversation, Alex reveals his favourite stores on Regent Street and unpacks the retailers’ different approaches to in-store technology.

You can listen to the full episode here, or by searching for Shaping the Future by Regent Street wherever you get your podcasts.

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