Former IKEA VP of digital transformation Michael Valdsgaard unveils next-generation augmented reality start-up at Retail Without Borders

Michael Valdsgaard, former head of digital transformation at IKEA, has used his keynote speech at Retail Without Borders to launch his latest venture: a high-tech immersive commerce solution provider, London Dynamics. 

London Dynamics has developed a next-generation augmented reality (AR) platform which enables retail brands to revolutionise the way customers interact and explore their products digitally to increase sales, strengthen brand loyalty and reduce the rate of returns. Valdsgaard is applying over two and a half decades of insight from the forefront of retail technology and customer experience innovation to bring a solid, futuristic and frictionless AR solution to retail businesses. 

“We are bringing online shopping back into the physical world by enabling that long awaited augmented reality revolution,” said Michael Valdsgaard in a keynote presentation to attendees of Retail Without Borders. 

In addition to a range of AR integrations for products from wearables to furniture to customisable luxury items, London Dynamics is also showcasing the cutting-edge skillsets required for the development of lightweight, browser-based, app-free solutions. These are capable of rendering true-to-life 3D models, textures and lighting, all on a platform that can scale to the demands of global retailers. Most importantly, London Dynamics is developing solutions which are platform agnostic so immediately available to anyone.

“The evidence of massive disruption buffeting retailers in the UK can’t be denied,” continued Valdsgaard. “The Office of National Statistics reported that as much as 21 per cent of retail sales were made online in December 2019, an increase of six per cent, while over 10 thousand in-store retail jobs were cut in the first weeks of 2020 alone.”

“Lasting change isn’t coming for retail, it’s already here, and AR has similarly arrived to offer a new and powerful way to respond to changing customer demographics and demands,” he said. 

With so many more people engaging with brands and retailers online, AR provides businesses with significant advantages to nurture engagement, build relationships and emotional connections, as well as convert sales in a very competitive marketplace. Early adopters of the technology have already realised the benefits of personalised and targeted marketing. AR can help retail leaders offer their customers the next level of online shopping by enabling ‘try before you buy’ for any ecommerce platform.

“With London Dynamics, I want retailers and brands to have an accessible, ‘plug and play’ solution for AR; allowing their customers to make better purchase decisions and convert sales by adding a physical experience to online shopping,” said Valdsgaard. “Without a shadow of a doubt, AR has the potential to entirely overturn the way we look for, buy, and sell things online.”

With decades of global retail experience, Michael explained his decision to establish his business in the UK, further reinforcing that connection with the name London Dynamics: “The UK has a credible claim as one of the largest and most sophisticated retail markets in the world. This presents huge opportunity for retailers, and technologists like us. With access to the right talent, infrastructure and a digitally fluent and urban customer base, London has real potential to become the global launchpad for the most ambitious and exciting retail experiences in the world.”

Retail Without Borders is Europe’s largest online marketplace conference, providing panel and keynote discussions on a range of topics from mastering difficult territories to accelerating global online sales.

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