Re­tailer go­ing high-tech to bring shop­pers back to stores

Point of Purchase - - CONTENTS -

The use of tech­nol­ogy in our lives is in­creas­ing ten­fold. When it comes to shop­per mar­ket­ing the best of innovations have made their mark mak­ing ev­ery one ask­ing for more. Here’s a look at some new tech­nolo­gies and innovations hit­ting the mar­ket world over, giv­ing a glimpse of where the fu­ture of shop­per mar­ket­ing is headed.

Re­tail­ers hop­ing to lure back con­sumers shop­ping on the Web and via mo­bile de­vices have found a new weapon: in­ter­ac­tive tech­nol­ogy de­signed to bring the func­tion­al­ity of the Web to their stores. “Ba­si­cally, I see this as an evo­lu­tion that will change the way peo­ple shop,” said Chris Aubrey, vice pres­i­dent of re­tail mar­ket­ing for the global shoe com­pany Adi­das.

Adi­das is one of dozens of re­tail­ers us­ing tech­nol­ogy to cre­ate in-store kiosks or mon­i­tors to give shop­pers all of the in­for­ma­tion and f lex­i­bil­ity of the In­ter­net inside the real world of brickand-mor­tar stores.

Re­tail­ers are get­ting a glimpse into the fu­ture of their in­dus­try at the Na­tional Re­tail Fed­er­a­tion’s an­nual show here. Tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing chip maker In­tel, dis­played innovations meant to help Mer­chants Bridge the gap be­tween tra­di­tional in-store retailing and the Web.

Some in­ter­ac­tive kiosks give out free candy sam­ples based on gen­der. Other de­vices in­clude a large wall of mon­i­tors where shop­pers can play games with chef Wolf­gang Puck while buy­ing his prod­ucts from tele­vi­sion shop­ping net­work HSN.

The main func­tion of this type of tech­nol­ogy, which in many cases is sev­eral years from be­ing in mass use, is to al­low a con­sumer to in­ter­act with a prod­uct as he or she would on­line at home, but in the ac­tual store.

“We’re very, very in­ter­ested in how shop­pers are buy­ing” whether it is in stores, on­line or us­ing mo­bile tech­nol­ogy, said Michael J. Tobin, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of om­nichan­nel strat­egy for depart­ment store re­tailer Macy’s.

The re­tailer has in­stalled Macy’s Beauty Spot touch-screen sta­tions at four of its stores, in­clud­ing one at the Tysons Cor­ner Cen­ter in North­ern Vir­ginia.

The sta­tions help shop­pers find the right beauty prod­ucts by in­putting their per­sonal needs and pref­er­ences. Cus­tomers then can email them­selves a list of items or pur­chase the mer­chan­dise from an in-store concierge who is equipped with a tablet com­puter.

“The fu­ture of retailing is here,” Tobin said.

In Brazil, the fuel and con­ve­nience store chain Petro­bras re­cently opened a state-of-the-art sta­tion that iden­ti­fies driv­ers pulling up to the pump us­ing ra­dio-fre­quency iden­ti­fi­ca­tion de­vices in­stalled in ve­hi­cles.

Ad­ver­tis­ing mes­sages di­rectly tar­get the driver as a way to lure the per­son into the store. The goal is to in­crease rev­enue inside the store.

Adi­das’ Aubrey said the in­ter­ac­tive kiosk in­stalled at the shoe com­pany’s main Lon­don store for two weeks in Novem­ber showed strong re­sults.

The large wall unit, called the adiVERSE Vir­tual Footwear Wall, lets shop­pers view a prod­uct, get videos and siz­ing in­for­ma­tion and learn real time up­dates on what oth­ers are say­ing about the prod­uct from Twit­ter.

Adi­das used the dis­play to pro­mote its new adizero f50 micoach shoe, which wasn’t out at the time. Sales at that store — in­clud­ing ad­vanced or­ders for the shoe and other items — were five times higher than other stores, Aubrey said.

For a dis­play to be ef­fec­tive, how­ever, its needs to cre­ate an en­tirely dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence than what a con­sumer will find on the Web or via mo­bile de­vices, ex­perts said.

While some of the in­for­ma­tion will over­lap, the tech­nol­ogy needs to dif­fer­en­ti­ate it­self and give the shop­per an en­tirely new ex­pe­ri­ence — be­yond a typ­i­cal store and the Web.

One way that some of the emerg­ing tech­nol­ogy can do that is by iden­ti­fy­ing and tai­lor­ing mes­sag­ing to the shop­pers.

Kraft is do­ing that with two ma­chines in the U.S. — in Chicago and New York — that can iden­tify some­one’s age and gen­der as he or she ap­proaches the units, then of­fer a free sam­ple based on the cus­tomer pro­file.

Re­tail­ers are do­ing all they can to “keep the at­ten­tion of the con­sumer,” said Ed McCabe, na­tional sales man­ager for con­sumer elec­tron­ics man­u­fac­turer Pana­sonic.

“Once they get you in the store, they want to get your busi­ness,” he said.

For a com­pany to do well in the mod­ern mar­ket­place, ex­perts say that mo­bile, Web and in-store el­e­ments and em­ploy­ees need to in­ter­act seam­lessly.

David Jaffe, CEO of the As­cena Re­tail Group, which owns re­tail­ers Dress­barn, Mau­rices and Jus­tice, said a smart re­tailer will take ad­van­tage of its op­tions.

“The best re­tail­ers will merge all three,” Jaffe said. “Cus­tomers don’t seek chan­nels. They seek so­lu­tions.”

In a re­cent re­port by ac­count­ing and con­sult­ing firm Deloitte, emerg­ing tech­nol­ogy has dra­mat­i­cally changed con­sumer be­hav­ior.

“While the store ex­pe­ri­ence will re­main im­por­tant for many shop­pers, it’s a far cry from the role it once en­joyed when a phys­i­cal store was the only place where a mer­chant and cus­tomer could con­nect. Stores are now be­com­ing just one part of a larger, more con­nected ex­pe­ri­ence,” Deloitte said in a re­port ti­tled “The Next Evo­lu­tion: Store 3.0.”

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