The Innovative Retail Laboratory (IRL) is a future lab of the DFKI, which investigates application-oriented developments for the retail of the future as a unique research and demonstration platform. By simulating real-life conditions, innovative technologies can be tested and evaluated.
At the IRL, topic complexes related to the shopping of tomorrow are tested for their suitability for everyday use and customer benefit - from virtual shopping assistants to intelligent fruit shelves, personalized cross- and up-selling, innovative operating concepts at fresh food counters and novel shopping experiences.
New forms of interaction with the customer are being developed and tested for use: from personalized sales advice to intelligent shelves and robotic systems that assist with shopping. Likewise, assistance systems for employees are being tested, which will enable them to meet the increasing demands of customers even better in the future.
The IRL does not only focus its activities on concepts and technologies that solely consider the stationary retail store of the future as a place of shopping. The relationship between brick-and-mortar retailers and their customers begins before shopping, with individualized shopping preparation and personalized presentations of offers at home and continues after shopping with product and usage guides for the goods purchased. Likewise, other sales channels within the framework of "connected retail" or "omnichannel retailing" also play a role in the research.
The IRL provides a unique infrastructure for intelligent shopping environments on its site near Saarbrücken's city center (Neumarkt 15, in co:hub66). Within the course of selected events and guided tours, the public is invited to experience demonstrators, the latest developments as well as outlooks on the future of shopping for themselves.