Creative Realities is a creative technology company specializing in designing and deploying digital experiences to bridge the new, more fluid world of virtual and physical marketing.
After visiting Macy’s store in Herald Square, where innovative digital experience is being blended into brick-and-mortar shopping, I was excited to hear from Price who worked with Macy’s and he didn’t disappoint.
What is the store of the future?
According to Price, we are living in the most disruptive period of doing business since the industrial revolution. This is largely on account of technology getting better, cheaper and faster.
The three main features of the store of the future:
Where does the online experience fit in? A fragmented, multichannel web is social’s deep dark secret, according to Price.
Don’t think of social as a medium. Think of it as a utility in consumers minds.
Convert thinking from ‘demographic’ to ‘technographic’
What are the digital behaviors of your consumer that characterize their relationship with your brand? Start defining their technography; their digital profile and the way they are using digital platforms to make decisions about your brand and competitors.
For client Adidas, Creative Realities installed life-sized interactive touch displays to encourage browsing, customizing looks and social sharing within Footaction retails stores.
Sales associates were also armed with simple tablet devices that help engage guests one-on-one.
Five digital trends that will impact the future of retail
The Internet of things: this is not just about machines talking to machines. More objects are becoming embedded with sensors and gaining the ability to communicate which will effect inventory and personalization in-store greatly.
The resulting information networks promise to create new business models, improve business processes, and reduce costs and risks for retail. Price referenced the Pebble Smart Watch which is the first consumer product to market which was funded through the crowd-sourced Kickstarter model.
- Social recommendation: these help all of us decide what we want to buy. Consumers trust themselves and their peers, making “push” marketing tactics increasingly less effective.
- Virtual currency and the mobile wallet: with Square and Google Wallet gaining traction there aren’t many remaining reasons to keep the old cow hide. Additionally, according to Price, wearable computing like smartwatches and Google Glass will all have payment options like these built in.
- 3D printing: will change the way retailers think about inventory. 3D printed pharma is on the way. Will H&M give you a 3D printer to make disposable fashion even more disposable?
- Interactive vending experiences: for the Beijing Olympics, Samsung deployed 20 interactive vending machines featuring Samsung 46-inch touchscreen. The networked units send customer’s selection information for to a central HQ and can also distribute tickets or provide wayfinding and venue information.
What can retailers and marketers do right now to prepare?
- Move tech into the marketing department. It’s marketing that needs to manage how digital plays in the organization, or at least me at the table for discussion.
- Stop worrying on demography and do worry about technography.
- Think communities rather than segmentation.
- When it comes to drawing market lines, don’t get hung up on political or physical.
- Stop thinking about communications, and start thinging about experiences and let the consumer be your producer.