ISE 2018: Retail Roundtable

Commencing from today until Saturday 27th January, we will be posting the topics discussed at this year’s ISE 2018 Retail Roundtable. Stay tuned!

There are two key trends in retail we are seeing today; the decline of traditional bricks-and-mortar stores, and the increasing dominance of online behemoths such as Amazon and ebay. Whilst there is a buzz around the need to create online retail offerings, today, 90% of all transactions are still offline and today’s physical stores must now become destinations and adapt to survive. Technology has a very real role to play in this environment, and also can completely transform the customer experience.

We gathered together a panel of experts from both the retail and technology worlds to tackle these issues.  Hosted by Florian Rotberg, Chairman of the Digital Signage Summit, the panel included Andrew Gerrie, Chairman of Hotel Chocolat, David Bailey, VP Marketing, Samsung Smart Things, Philippe G. von Stauffenberg and Ignacio Alonso Junquera of technology integrators Trison Worldwide, Gary Watton, Vitra Shopfitting and Stefan Schieker of Invidis Consulting.

Today’s topic – Retail Trends: Store Concepts and Challenges of Bricks and Mortar

Participants discussed the challenges faced by traditional store retailers today, including the role of physical stores, the different kind of experiences found within them, as well as on and offline shareable experiences. Technology in a retail environment encompasses so much more than large digital signage screens; content must be engaging, ever-changing and relevant. Beacon technology, lighting control, in-store music, intelligent mirrors in fitting rooms that enhance a stressful experience even electronic shelf labelling and stock control systems, once integrated into an easy to use system all have a role to play in enhancing the customer journey, delivering return on investment.

Gary Watton of Vitra commented that many brands fall victim to the temptation to copy successful market-leaders. This often comes across as a poor replica, and in fact, without authenticity will do more damage than good – let’s not forget that bad customer experiences linger long in the memory.  It is therefore important for retailers to make their mark as technology becomes increasingly prominent in physical stores, and in larger, multi-brand retailers.

 

Left image: Gary Watton of Vitra

 

The customer experience is also greatly affected by the staff in a retail store.  Time and again, research shows that good, happy staff, knowledgeable, efficient, and well rewarded, will deliver benefits many times over. What is often overlooked however, according to Stefan Schieker of Invidis Consulting, is that retail technology can significantly improve staff performance; from the music that plays in the store, LED displays showing fabulous, entertaining content, to the improved interaction between staff and customer that technology allows – if the size you want isn’t available in the store, I’ll click here and order it up from the warehouse etc….  Just think of the impact on till staff, having to stand in front of a large format screen which kicks out heat whilst working – how happy they are if that screen breaks down – and what a missed opportunity for the retailer.

Right image: Stefan Schieker of Invidis Consulting 

Come back tomorrow for the next instalment!

To find out more about ISE 2018 and the Digital Signage Summit event, visit www.iseurope.org. To register for your FREE ticket using the special code 399576, click here.

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