Laura Davis-Taylor on the New Retail Landscape

By David Keene

Retail Innovation Report: Taking the Guesswork Out of Using In-Store Technology


Covering the digital signage, DOOH, and retail markets over the years, I quickly learned that there is no one better positioned that Laura Davis-Taylor to explore – and explain – how new technology tools are being enlisted in the massive effort to reinvigorate retail. Retail stores are being pressure tested like never before. And as ‘typical’ transactional store trips become an ever-increasing commodity, what then does the brick and mortar store need to become? Can the tech tools that have taken the enterprise world and sports arenas and educational campuses by storm – large palette displays, interactive displays, engagement apps, and more – bring experiential magic or just good informational/visualization tools to the retail shopping world?

Laura Davis-Taylor has been focused on creating meaningful retail experiences that bridge home, life and store for over 20 years, both as a consultant and within the walls of the many lauded global agencies. Her experience is multifaceted, ranging across brand planning, digital engagement, store design, CX and retail innovation. She believes passionately that good brands do not make promises—they deliver experiences in unique and compelling ways. Done right, it is this that builds irrational brand (and store) loyalty. With this philosophy tied to her tireless passion, she has become an author, teacher, sage, cheerleader—and now HighStreet Collective Co-Founder.

Speaking of which, the other Co-Founder of HighStreet Collective is Ed King. And together, Ed and Laura have just launched their first quarterly report that measures the top 12 technologies used in brick and mortar retail. This is not your run-of-the-mill, tech-speak-for-fellow-techies report, however.

The 19-page report, to be published quarterly, was designed to help guide retailers and brands in the right direction by showing living retail examples (good and bad), by identifying insights regarding evolving shopper behaviors, and by rating shoppers’ technology expectations inside the store using an easy-to-understand 1-10 scale.

“Retail has lagged behind the technology curve for years, and it’s no wonder legacy retailers are losing ground to Amazon and other online-native retailers who are now opening brick and mortars,” says Davis-Taylor. “Today’s shopper has evolved, and they bring with them heightened expectations when they shop…they expect the in-store experience to be authentic, friction-free, and story-driven. These are all things that in-store technologies can help.”

“In-store tech should no longer be measured solely on up-time and functionality. It should be measured on shopper adoption of the technologies,” says Ed King, co-founder and shopper behavior expert at HighStreet. “What good is technology if shoppers don’t use it, or if it doesn’t help move the needle?” continues King.

Sanjay Gidwani, the third contributor to the report, and HighStreet’s global strategist, was once the founder and CEO of a retail chain in Australia, and has worked for global powerhouses Harrod’s of London and Prada.

“As a fellow retailer, I understand there’s an allure to use ‘cool tech’ to modernize the store. But using tech for tech’s sake is the biggest mistake retailers are making today,” says Gidwani. “This report can really help directors, VPs and the C-suite in all sectors of retail become smart at in-store tech without learning the tech-speak that usually goes with it. We created it for retail minds, not the pocket protector group, and the 1-10 scale is easy to get your head around.”

Readers can download the report for free and sign up for future reports at

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