Tech + the Evolution of the In-Store Experience

StaffReporter

Panel:
Carrie Chitsey – Founder & CEO, 3Seventy
Chris Harrison – COO, DMX Inc (a sensory branding agency)
Ryan Kellogg – Assoc Dir of Emerging Technologies, Razorfish
Tim Austin – CCO, TPN

In the past, Brick and Mortar stores would create a Digital Site that reflected the look and feel of the Brick and Mortar location. With the increased technology, more and more B&M companies are trying to bring the Digital Site look and feel to the Brick and Mortar locations. When doing this companies have to decide how to best bring that experience to the B&M store. Is it through large 3-d Video image walls, provide tablets to their customers and staff or bring in interactive tables. Tablets will work best when you want more customer interaction with increased privacy, where a fixed video wall is more of an attractor to entertain the customers while in the store. Additionally how do you include a mobile device into your plan?

Once you have figured out what digital assets you will incorporate into your store, you now need to decide if you want to include augmented reality. Currently Lego Stores are introduced in 2009 and are still rolling out their successful augmented reality program. They have created Lego Digital Box’s which allowed any Lego box to be held up to a screen in store and the finished product displayed sitting on top of it.

The fashion industry is leaning more towards mobile interactivity. Where you can be in your dressing room trying on cloths, decide you want to also try on a pair of boots and communicate that via your mobile device. The next thing you know, those boots are in the dressing room for you to try on in just a few minutes.

The downside to mobile interactive integration, is that currently only 35% of the US population has a smart phone. So if you go head strong into only mobile device integration, you will be alienating over 60% of the population. You need to thoroughly think through your digital plan and how to best incorporate your needs, the needs of your customers and how to best bring them all together.

The perfect example of where these connected and non-mobile connected communities collide is with QR codes and SMS. Both are successful platforms, but what happens with the QR code on a print ad? Is it able to enhance the customers experience? Or is it just on your ads because it is the hot new trend? When including QR codes, you need to ensure that the location the QR code takes you has a strong web presence and is not just a flat landing page. Additionally, are you using check-ins as part of your QR platform. How is that continuing the conversation with your target audience? Or is it turning them off, since they don’t want to have to check in with all of the locations they frequent? Can you successfully integrate the two together?

Finally, are RFID’s helpful for your overall goals. Currently they are not being used successfully. In the years coming, if you implement them properly into your inventory channels, you will be able to have an accurate real time look at your inventory in your B&M back room. Stores will be able to increase/decrease prices in real time based on the demand for the product. If you find you have a lot of inventory you can generate an instant coupon to your mobile customers and move the product in a timely manner.

In the future it is expected that by implementing all or some of the digital offerings into your store plan, you will be able to reduce your store footprint and keep less inventory. Customers will be able to come into your store, touch feel and purchase a product via a mobile device or tablet. The next day that product will arrive at their home via overnight deliver. The possibilities of how you will use digital are endless. You need to review your options and see what plan will work best for you and your company.

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