PLENTY MORE

TOP RETAILERS STILL MAKE MOST OF THEIR REV­ENUE OFF­LINE, BUT DIG­I­TAL TECH­NOL­OGY IS START­ING TO HAVE A BIG IM­PACT THERE, TOO.

The Australian - The Deal - - Media Marketing -

THE MAIN TECH­NOL­OGY FO­CUS in the past two years for re­tail mar­keters has been on­line, with op­ti­mis­ing a web­site or mo­bile app for in­creased sales be­ing the pri­mary goal. But what are mar­keters do­ing about dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy in their stores?

Nine­teen of the top 20 retailers in the US still record far more sales in their phys­i­cal stores than on­line, Ama­zon be­ing the ex­cep­tion. In Aus­tralia, even the best “bricks and clicks” retailers make 85 per cent of their sales in-store.

One over­seas re­tailer to em­brace the fu­ture is Ja­pan’s Van­quish Ike­bukuro PARCO store. At first glance, the screens above its clothes racks seem fairly stan­dard, with tra­di­tional fash­ion pho­to­graphs dis­played. But when you take an ite­moff the rack, a video starts up on one of the screens, in which some­one mod­els that ex­act piece of cloth­ing.

Not only have the mar­keters gained much more of your at­ten­tion, but the tech­nol­ogy can also high­light ac­ces­sories for that out­fit, cre­at­ing ad­di­tional sales op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Vir­tual mir­rors and fit­ting rooms were first pro­to­typed about three years ago and are now find­ing their way into fash­ion stores over­seas. Some scan your body mea­sure­mentswith the ac­cu­racy of a tai­lor and rec­om­mend brands to suit your body shape. Oth­ers change the colour of the shirt you have just tried on, with­out you leav­ing the fit­ting room. And some will cap­ture you turn­ing from side to side, and re­play the video so you can see the fit fro­mall an­gles.

All of this adds value to a cus­tomer’s in-store ex­pe­ri­ence. It sounds so sim­ple and log­i­cal, but in Aus­tralia the ma­jor fash­ion and home-goods retailers have been slow to em­brace this tech­nol­ogy. It’s been 10 years since Tel­stra stores re­placed their pa­per-based point-of-sale posters with dig­i­tal screens ca­pa­ble of chang­ing the mes­sage based on the time of day and the tar­get au­di­ence in the store at that mo­ment. Since then, how­ever, many other retailers have found it eas­ier to find rea­sons to not take bold steps and lead cus­tomers into the fu­ture.

But when the Bank of Melbourne launched two years ago, its branches were set up for the cus­tomers of to­day, not yes­ter­year. In­ter­ac­tive dig­i­tal screens en­abled cus­tomers to col­late brochure in­for­ma­tion spe­cific to their needs and email it to them­selves to read when they ar­rived home. No more walk­ing out of the bankwith six dif­fer­ent brochures and never quite know­ing where the rel­e­vant bits are.

The bank also em­braced the iPad, with all rel­e­vant sales tools loaded on to it, so bank man­agers can bet­ter ser­vice cus­tomers any­where in the branch. Sim­i­larly, floor staff

When a cus­tomer at Ja­pan’s Van­quish Ike­bukuro PARCO store makes a se­lec­tion from the rack, the screen above will dis­play a video fea­tur­ing that item.

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