Have you considered how digital technology and signage might affect, even radically improve, your retail experience?
I recently became re-acquainted with Andy Edelman from Trimco, a New York based visual merchandising display company whose organization has enhanced the in-store experiences of many major retailers - e.g., Ann Taylor, Bloomingdale's, Harley-Davidson, Disney, JC Penney, Victoria's Secret, Macy's, etc.... - around the country. Andy and I had both been invited to sit in on Brand Experience Lab's David Polinchock's FIT class final presentation and listen to, react to and evaluate the students' retail makeover recommendations.
Andy and I got to talking -- how often do you get to interact with someone who has single-handedly 'touched' in some way just about every noteworthy retail experience? -- about retail displays and the role they play: to capture the attention of a public that expects retail to be an experience, yet has less time and wants to get in and out of stores rapidly.
Digital, you see, can radically improve a retail experience by educating, entertaining and creating a consistent and up-to-date visual environment. Digital can do that despite inconsistent in-store sales assistance.
Take mannequins. It takes a great deal of manual effort to change them and re-dress them [!] to reflect new seasonal items. Consequently, they don't change frequently. Digital mannequins, on the other hand, can be updated at the push of a button to coincide with different day parts or different shopper patterns.
Here's a frightening bit of information: only 60% of point-of-purchase materials actually ever get set up in-store. Talk about waste! Digital guarantees that updates take place.
[By the way, I can attest to the truth of that statistic. If we ever had in-store promotions planned to coincide with the launch of new Wear-Dated display programs, we had to send our Wear-Dated Representatives out ready to go into warehouses, dig out cartons, extract the display parts, get them set up and the product samples properly organized within the displays. Otherwise, the displays and associated products never saw the light of a retail store - or the inside of a consumer's home.]
To illustrate what's possible, Andy shared with me this video link to an interactive retail window. It's new technology, definitely cool and fun and brings to life how digital displays can enhance the retail experience, engaging consumers and inviting them to interact with displays at a higher level of involvement than traditional displays do.
What do you think? Pretty cool, no?
Contrast that with WSL Strategic Retail's visual virtual tour of Target's new Beauty Department concept being tested in several stores in and around Wheaton, IL. Note the oversized, visually captivating and attention getting photos and graphics. I don't see much digital technology involved here... although the visuals create an eye-catching effect. [Imagine, though, bringing in-store via digital technology the online DailyCandy experience - see Target Offers Taste of DailyCandy - to enhance the strong visual presence.]
Questions for your consideration:
How would you apply this kind of technology to your retail environment? What if a consumer could design a room on-screen or on a store window? How would you use it to enhance the value of the products and services that you offer? How might you completely redefine, re-imagine and re-value the flooring retail experience - or any other - as a result?
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