Tech­nol­ogy and the art of in-store aes­thet­ics


Aglobal hub for re­tail de­sign and VM, the Euroshop, just con­cluded its 2014 edi­tion and ac­cord­ing to the in­dus­try's who’s-who's, there were some note­wor­thy trends this year too. Ac­cord­ing to Kenneth Nisch, Chair­man, JGA (check out his col­umn in this is­sue) use of tech­nol­ogy was one of the most dis­cernible trends this year among all leading global re­tail­ers who par­tic­i­pated in the show. As Kenneth rightly points out, tech­nol­ogy in­flu­ences the aes­thet­ics. This in­cludes ro­bot­ics in­fused man­nequins, in­ter­ac­tive LCD screens with 3D ef­fect etc. In­deed with tech­nol­ogy, par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ac­tive tech­nolo­gies be­com­ing an in­dis­pens­able and in­evitable as­pect part of our lives, a seam­less in­te­gra­tion of tech­nol­ogy into store de­sign, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and VM would seem to be part of the nat­u­ral or­der of things. But is it? Dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy ven­dors' grouse is that while a brand (re­tailer) al­lots a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the budget on man­nequins, lights, store de­sign, colours, floor­ing etc, when it comes to some­thing like dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy, there is al­ways a cost con­sid­er­a­tion. Well, the fact is that in­vest­ment in an in­ter­ac­tive dig­i­tal screen in-store, for ex­am­ple, is a one-time cost and the ben­e­fits are in­nu­mer­able -- wide prod­uct range show­case, live cus­tomer in­ter­ac­tion, cus­tomiza­tion, etc to name just a few, not to men­tion the whole level to which it takes the in-store ex­pe­ri­ence and en­vi­ron­ment. And then this is just one as­pect of tech­nol­ogy use. There is also the in­te­gra­tion of tech­nol­ogy into the var­i­ous VM el­e­ments -- right from vir­tual man­nequins or ro­botic man­nequins (as pointed out by Kenneth) to cus­tomiza­tion of light­ing, mer­chan­dise dis­play, cus­tomer in­ter­face ...the list is end­less. And this does not even look at back-end tech­nol­ogy. Well, you get the drift. So, ‘Go tech’ could prob­a­bly be the mantra re­tail­ers could do well to chant in the new fi­nan­cial year.


N Jay­alak­shmi

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