Hi-Tech Retail: For A lot more Information – Pick Up the Hanger

You might probably agree using the statement that 2011 was the year of retail technology. Many of the projects deployed in brand stores, buying centres and supermarkets across the UK and across the globe, were practically nothing short of note-worthy, original and sensorial marketing and advertising to tweet mirrors and interactive hangers, today’s shop has evolved for the state of a planet of its personal, a globe that coexists with- and reinforces the other sales channels.

Westfield London attracted significantly media consideration within the initial part of the year with its tweet mirror (a screen in disguise) that enables shoppers to take photographs of their new outfits and instantaneously share them with their Good friends on Twitter and Facebook.

Augmented reality- a new buzz word in retail

FaceCake’s virtual fitting space (Swivel) enables individuals to try (virtual) clothes & accessories anywhere there’s a mirror (read touch-screen) around.

The increased convergence between mirrors and screens resulted in other ”magical mirrors”- such as multi-touch holographic screens in Adidas and Levi outlets that allow shoppers browse merchandise, read customer reviews or submit feedback.

Without making a too courageous statement, one can note the trend towards using technology to empower the consumer and complement shop assistants who start playing a consultative rather than an informational role.

For much more information- choose up the hanger

The recent example with the interactive hangers of a Japanese department retailer seems to support this idea. Every time a person picks up an item, corresponding images and videos are displayed on the nearest screen(s). This operation is made possible by hanger-embedded chips that send signals to computers controlling specific displays across the shop. The chips also allow store managers to gather data on which are the most popular items and how effectively positioned are they within the shop.

Technologies has also been used to influence shopper behavior. Playing on the consumers’ interest in discounts, a Swedish supermarket used digital signage to engage its customers in making prices fall for certain retailer-chosen products. A screen installed at the store’s entrance reminds customers to check-in from their smartphones via Facebook or by scanning the displayed QR codes or URLs. The higher the number of check-ins, the lower the price of a particular product.

Who said technology cannot be useful and fun at the same time? The evidence is overwhelming: Cadbury’s in retailer game… that quacks, Tesco’s virtual retailers in Seoul’s subway stations (working on the principle: if persons don’t come for the shop, let the retailer come towards the men and women). They only come to exemplify the limitless possibilities today’s technologies (QR codes, smartphones, digital signage) offers to retailers.

Brands and retailers alike are combining digital signage, social media and sensorial marketing and advertising (colours, sounds/ music, scents) to provide a familiar, enjoyable and interactive milieu that gives shoppers a reason to stay longer and stop by often.

As in-store technology is used to tell a story- of a brand, a product or of an experience, it becomes an important a part of a company’s marketing efforts. Combining innovation & storytelling, retailers are able to create customer engagement inside and beyond their stores’ walls, leveraging the power of digital media and bridging their online and offline presence.

The ultimate goal of customer- facing technologies is generating sales and boosting customer satisfaction. No call-to-action is stronger than one that can be followed through immediately and such call-to-actions are supported by digital signage and by other similar marketing technologies.

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