We attended the Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona last week and toured anything to do with retail experience and digital commerce. Here were our key takeaways:

1. Biometrics supporting a multilayered hands-free experience

During a visit to  the guys at Idemia, we immersed ourselves in the “arena experience”: a simulation of a stadium atendee-journey that incorporates biometrics – fingerprint and face scan – into their purchase experience. Consumers are able to simply take a picture of their hand, face and credit card, to set them up for a hands-free day. That means entering the stadium by waving your hand, and paying at the burger place by looking at a screen. Without the need to carry phones, cards, cash or tickets with you.

2. Voice-enabled engines

We all know that the next big thing has been around for a while: voice. The MWC and 4YFN just confirmed that idea. Neurafya start-up that determines the feelings of the speaker by scanning their voice – opens up a range of applications such as a  bespoke-one-to-one (phone, online, in-store booth, physical sales person) service that adapts the sale to the mood of the consumer.  Voice-enabled payments by Red Link “technological services that make your life easier” use biometric engine (fingerprint, facial, iris and voice recognition) to secure transactions where you don’t need to have your card or phone with you to close a purchase.

3. Pay without queueing up

The idea of being able to pay with your phone and avoid the  queue at the till has been around for a while. Established businesses such us Sedco include that along with  their omnichannel marketing displays/engines. But we didn’t really believe it was feasible without having  to go through the hassle of app-download. Buy Yourself offers a platform that allows for hassle-free cue-skipping. All shoppers need to do is scan the products’ barcode and pay – it works with and without RFID technology and with secured checkout. Already being tested at Misako stores in Barcelona.

4. 360 CRM. User data and AI

The guys at sales force – with Leyla Seka, Executive Vice President of Salesforce Mobile – highlight the value  of their new Customer-360 service – for  smaller yet ambitious business such us Urban Airship. They emphasise the importance of being able to respond and interact with one consumer on multiple channels (email, SSMM, phone, etc.) without losing the thread. This 360 user level data allows brands to connect with their contacts on any channel in their marketing stack to grow engagement and loyalty. That not only provides a consistent holistic experience but also collects all personal information in one place.Combined  with real time data streaming and predictive AI, we have the tools to predict what people need before they even know they need it. And create an incredible customer experience along the way.

Exciting yet scary.