‘Virtual Assistant’ technology makes retail debut at Duane Reade

[From Chain Store Age; more information follows below]

‘Virtual Assistant’ technology makes retail debut at Duane Reade

July 5, 2011 | By Marianne Wilson

New York City — Next-generation digital signage that uses the latest in holographic imaging and audio-visual technology to create the illusion of a real person is making its U.S. debut at Duane Reade’s new flagship in downtown Manhattan.

The technology, the Tensator Virtual Assistant, is provided by Lawrence, a Tensator Group Co. Completely customized for Duane Reade, it takes the form of a female greeter who welcomes entering customers and provides information on everything store-related. Currently, the greeter has seven different scripts, each of which speaks to a different store element.

“All seven run on a continuous loop,” explained Keith Carpentier, senior business development manager-retail, Lawrence, a Tenstaor Group Company, Bay Shore, N.Y.

Carpentier added that an updated, version of the Virtual Assistant is in the works, with more interactive and dynamic capabilities.

Duane Reade is the first retailer to deploy the Virtual Assistant technology. The other commercial applications to date have been in the United Kingdom, at London Luton and Birmingham Airports.

“Our Virtual Greeter is an essential part of the ‘wow factor’ we have built into our newest store and serves as ambassador of the new Duane Reade experience,” said Paul Tiberio, senior VP merchandising and CMO, Duane Reade. “The virtual aspect captures shoppers’ attention from the moment they enter the store — engaging their visual and auditory senses.”

Click here for more on the new Duane Reade.


[From Convenience Store News]

CSNews Gets Advance Look Inside Duane Reade’s New Flagship Store

By Brian Berk
Jul 06, 2011

NEW YORK — Duane Reade’s new flagship store opens here today, and while it may not be a direct competitor to convenience stores at 22,000 square feet, many of the innovative ideas it contains could be showing up soon in a Walgreens store near you.


As part of its store tour yesterday, CSNews Online also got a special look at Duane Reade’s use of Tensator’s newest product, the Virtual Assistant. Tensator technology is used in several c-stores, including Sheetz and Quick Chek. However, the Virtual Assistant, housed near Duane Reade’s checkout counter, is the first of its kind in North America.

The product depicts a hologram of a woman talking about Duane Reade. “Nobody knows a guest [waiting on line] like we do,” said Keith Carpentier, senior business development manager-retail for Tensator. “We partner with many companies like Hershey and Mars to create environments where impulse products will live. The waiting customer will then put one more item in their basket. It doesn’t get any more simple and pure than that.”

The Virtual Assistant has incredible “stopping” power, according to Carpentier. “People have been doing the proverbial ‘double take’ every time they walk by,” he said.

Version 2.0 of the product, which is expected to be released in six to 12 months, will feature more interactive features, including the ability for customers to ask certain questions of the Virtual Assistant, such as what shelf a certain item is located on.

“That Virtual Assistant will have proximity sensors that can answer pre-loaded questions in several different languages,” Carpentier said. “A lot of the questions asked by customers are similar. The Virtual Assistant allows employees to focus on other tasks.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

ISPR Presence News

Search ISPR Presence News: