Suren­der, Sr Re­tail Ex­pe­ri­ence Con­sul­tant

Blend­ing story-telling and logic sell­ing in In­tel­li­gent VM

VMRD - - Contents -

The con­nected cus­tomer has the power to make in­formed de­ci­sions lit­er­ally in their hands. With over 50% of shop­pers tes­ti­fy­ing that they are in­flu­enced dig­i­tally when they buy across chan­nels (Source: : De­cod­ing Dig­i­tal @ Re­tail: Win­ning the Om­nichan­nel Con­sumer by BCG), vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ers and mar­keters now need to be very pre­cise and rel­e­vant when plan­ning the con­tent in dis­plays tar­geted at the con­nected con­sumer. So, how does in­tel­li­gent Vis­ual Mer­chan­dis­ing de­liv­ery this?

It’s an es­tab­lished trend that Re­tail Ex­pe­ri­ence De­sign has to­day be­come a multi-sen­sory de­sign ef­fort cre­ated with vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ers, mar­keters, UX and UI de­sign­ers hud­dling to­gether. Brands en­deav­our to sell their eq­uity with ‘Story Telling’ con­tent to ap­peal to the emo­tional side of the con­sumer aug­mented with ra­tio­nal ‘Log­i­cal In­for­ma­tion’ con­tent that of­fer com­pelling rea­sons to buy. The need for the com­bi­na­tion of ‘Story and Logic’ con­tent in store ex­pe­ri­ences has re­de­fined vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ing as

“The art & sci­ence of pre­sent­ing a store and its of­fer­ings to sell sto­ries and logic to in­spire and in­flu­ence the con­nected con­sumer to buy”.

STORY TELLING is an an­cient art that en­tails ‘in­spir­ing’ and ‘en­gag­ing’ peo­ple to emo­tion­ally con­nect with the subjects of the story.

In­spir­ing cus­tomer with the power of store telling in win­dows has made many iconic brands like Har­rods and Ma­cys world fa­mous. The role of Vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ing, which for ages has been the use of art and crafts, to­day has been nudged sharply to be­come in­tel­li­gent with the need for hu­man­iz­ing con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence by adding tech­nol­ogy to cre­ate in­spi­ra­tional story-telling. This is play­ing a key role in help­ing phys­i­cal re­tail to stay the most pre­ferred chan­nel in ma­ture re­tail mar­kets that are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the on­slaught of on­line re­tail.

En­gag­ing with the con­sumer, when story-telling, has given them power to make choices ca­ter­ing to per­sonal tastes. In­tel­li­gent VM uses fo­cal points to present op­por­tu­ni­ties for the shop­pers to ‘play with the dis­play’ and cre­ate per­son­al­ized prod­ucts or ex­pe­ri­ences. Many brands like Re­becca Minkoff, Nike and Adi­das have led by in­te­grat­ing some ex­treme and im­mer­sive dig­i­tal in­te­gra­tion into their stores that en­able cus­tomers to deeply en­gage with the brand and build a stronger bond with them.

LOGIC SELL­ING is a very im­por­tant role of in­tel­li­gent VM that en­ables the con­sumer to make well in­formed de­ci­sions. With the con­nected con­sumer ac­cus­tomed to search­ing for in­for­ma­tion in the dig­i­tal do­main to be ad­vised, the de­liv­ery of ad­e­quate in­for­ma­tion and re­views on prod­uct fea­tures and ben­e­fits has be­come a hy­giene ex­pec­ta­tion. Thus, ‘Ad­vise’ and

‘Ad­vo­cate’ has been added to the role of in­tel­li­gent vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ing in re­tail en­vi­ron­ments. To­day, VM touch points are ex­pected to be a lot more in­tel­li­gent than be­fore to ad­vise with in­ter­ac­tive di­a­logues in the buy­ing process. Multi-me­dia is used by vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with tech­nol­ogy to de­liver this need to de­liver very pre­cise ad­vice for the buy­ing de­ci­sion. Car brands like Hyundai and Jaguar use a com­bi­na­tion of info loaded dig­i­tal screens and a tac­tile in­stal­la­tion of paint and up­hol­stery swatches to help con­sumers cus­tom­ize their cars.

The ad­vo­cacy role of in­tel­li­gent VM,

called ‘so­cial proof­ing’, is what po­ten­tial con­sumers seek di­rectly from ex­ist­ing con­sumers be­fore mak­ing a pur­chase. Brands and re­tail­ers are in­te­grat­ing this in-store in their dis­plays to en­able con­sumers to be make ‘rec­om­mended’ de­ci­sions. Its but log­i­cal that Ama­zon books would use big data to pre­dict con­sumer pref­er­ences by analysing on­line con­sumer rat­ings and speed of read­ing on Kin­dle data and use this in its in­tel­li­gent vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ing by in­te­grat­ing star rat­ings on their shelves.

In con­clu­sion, I can say as­sertively that to­day In­tel­li­gent Vis­ual Mer­chan­dis­ing has reimag­ined the art and sci­ence of this dis­ci­ple by in­te­grat­ing de­sign and data seam­lessly to de­fine, de­sign and de­ploy very ef­fec­tive dis­plays that at­tract and con­vert the con­nected cus­tomer. The skill of blend­ing de­sign with cus­tomer an­a­lyt­ics, so­cial me­dia an­a­lyt­ics, prod­uct fea­tures and tech tools has come to stay. The time has come for the new-age Vis­ual Mer­chan­diser to ef­fec­tively use both sides of the brain to stay rel­e­vant to the omni-chan­nel wave that is sweep­ing the re­tail world. Cheers!

Doo­dle by: Suren­der Gnanao­livu

Suren­der has an ex­pe­ri­ence of over two decades in the In­dian re­tail in­dus­try in Re­tail Strat­egy, Store De­sign, Plan­ning & De­vel­op­ment, Re­tail Mar­ket­ing, Vis­ual Mer­chan­dis­ing, Roll-out man­age­ment, Re­tail Au­dits, Train­ing, Writ­ing and Re­tail Event Man­age­ment. His ca­reer en­com­passes hold­ing of se­nior po­si­tions as Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent & Head Mar­ket­ing, Brand Ex­pe­ri­ence, Store De­sign, Plan­ning & De­vel­op­ment at lead­ing re­tail­ers like Shop­pers Stop, Re­liance Re­tail and Mahin­dra Re­tail and also as a se­nior re­tail con­sul­tant work­ing with lead­ing re­tail­ers and brands in In­dia. He is cur­rently a Sr Re­tail Ex­pe­ri­ence Con­sul­tant.He can be con­tacted on suren­­[email protected]

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