Retailers must constantly adapt their omnichannel strategies to incorporate new technologies. In general, a solid omnichannel retail strategy should center on the customer, providing them with new ways to engage with the brand story.
Outfitting a store with big, flashy screens or rows of tablets will only be effective if it provides a clear way for customers to engage with the brand or products. Here are five real world examples of brands that are using digital merchandising the right way.
1) Samsung's D'Light Experience shows the future of their technology
The Samsung D'Light Experience in Seoul, Korea, is one part sales floor and one part education center. Customers who visit the main floor can check out current Samsung products, while one floor up they can gain insight into the future of Samsung's product offerings in exhibition rooms dedicated to advanced technologies. Visitors are equipped with wristbands that guide them through rooms with visionary names like “The Imagination Room” and “Home of the Future”. Wearables, the Internet of Things, and virtual reality devices are all incorporated in these interactive displays, which teach customers about the future of Samsung engineering.
2) Macy's engages millennials through interactive display walls
In 2015, Macy’s revamped the basement level of their store in New York’s Herald Square by weaving digital features into every aspect of the space. While the merchandise on this level, called "One Below", targets millennial shoppers, the experience is interactive and engaging for all ages. Customers can post photos to a live Instagram wall using the hashtag #macyslove, or take new photos in front of a touchscreen selfie wall that allows shoppers to select from different iconic backdrops of New York City. There’s also a 3D printer where shoppers can print out custom jewelry.
Over the last year, the space has evolved even further with the addition of a touchscreen-enhanced FitBit station and an Etsy shop-in-a-shop, where shoppers can physically interact with products from a rotating set of online Etsy sellers.
3) Whole Foods uses digital storytelling to center sustainability
Sustainability is a core tenet of the Whole Foods brand, and that message is front and center at their flagship store in Alpharetta, Georgia. Different digital elements tell the story of where their food comes from and its journey to the store. These include a digital mirror, informative tablets built into specialty product areas, and cafe display screens that project photos from the rolling fields of six local supplier farms.
4) BMW augments reality with storefront displays
Some of the most engaging digital displays are those that can respond to the world around them. German automaker BMW created a display that uses digital projections and motion detection technology to turn their storefront window into an augmented reality display. The window features their i3 and i8 models and includes projections of traffic that change depending on the speed of actual traffic outside the store. The result is an eye-catching video display meant to capture the attention of pedestrians and provide each passerby with a different experience depending on the busyness of their surroundings.
5) Uniqlo reads brainwaves to determine customers' moods
Wearable technologies like smartwatches and wristbands are old news, but Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo has designed a whole new kind of wearable. Uniqlo’s UMood display launched at one of their stores in Sydney, Australia, as a way to drive customer engagement. When placed on a customer’s forehead, the device can read brainwaves that are run against an algorithm to determine the customer’s mood. Depending on whether the shopper is “calm,” “adventurous”, or “stormy”, the display will make a personalized recommendation from Uniqlo’s t-shirt line.
Retailers continue to break new ground in digital merchandising, using technologies like 3D printing, augmented reality, biosensors, and digital signage to enhance the shopping experience. As demonstrated by these forward-thinking retailers, the most successful omnichannel retail strategies will constantly implement new creative ways to engage the customer with their brand story.
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