‘Blink and it’s gone’ – what does this mean to you? Lost time? Kids growing up too fast? It means the same for me but for the purpose of this blog, I’m referring to the speed of which customers are making their decisions and if not ‘caught’ in the optimum way, they’ve disappeared. Va va voom!
As I’m not keen on vanishing time or disappearing customers, I thought it an ideal time to talk about some international retail trends that will be very much a part of our lives in the next wee while. I hate to say it – it’s all to do with technology.
I’d like to start from the inside out. Meaning, let’s start with technology in the store and how this can be used to not only lure your customer but get them talking to their friends and beyond – it’s all about talkability and shareability. I’ve mentioned Gentletech in a previous blog, but I do think this is an essential retail philosophy to stand by, so I’m keen to bring it up again.
We all love the ‘whizz, bang, pop’ of new technology, but I implore you to only use it if it adds genuine value to the retail experience.
This means it should be fun, needs to engage the customer, inspire them and have some connection to your brand, product or service, but, mostly, it needs to be easy to use or at the very least have someone standing by the customer’s side showing them how to use it. There’s nothing more awkward, than walking into a store and standing in front of the next best thing and not being able to make it work. It’s a bit like standing on a running machine at the gym and not knowing how to get it going.
I recently came across an example of a store which is the future of shopping. The Rebecca Minkoff store in Manhattan takes Gentletech to a whole new level and will quite literally blow your mind.
Interactive screen technology is employed from the beginning of the customer journey, where customers can select their beverage of choice and then once in the changing room the mirror becomes the control pad. A profile of your assistant is available and you can choose another size or style without the embarrassment of leaving the changing room. You can also select the type of lighting you’d prefer.
All of Rebecca Minkoff’s instore tech experiences enhance, engage, inspire, and surely would make you smile.
Other exciting bricks and mortar technology is the growing number of initiatives internationally to eliminate the cash register. Cloud-based point of sale systems are taking over, and fast.
We know wearable technology is fast becoming a super craze, but integrating this into retail experiences is a whole other level, and the likes of Barneys New York is already doing it.
3D printing is also taking the customer experience to new heights and being used more frequently instore. Just imagine if your jeweller was able to create an almost life like version of the $10,000 ring you’re about to buy. Try it on for size!
I’m so incredibly excited by the rapid change of customer behavior and how through technology their experience is becoming so much more impactful. So incredible are some of these initiatives, surely time can stop for a minute, so we can all catch our breath.
Lizzi Hines is MD of Spaceworks. For more information, phone 0800 2 FIT OUT, or visit www.spaceworks.co.nz