The advent of the digital age has transformed the way we do business in each and every sector; from healthcare to retail to finance and beyond (ahem, to infinity and beyond!); emerging media has had a significant impact on each. Especially “when it comes to marketing, the times have changed. Before, you relied on good onsite customer service, now customer service includes a consistent [digital] media presence.”
Retail is one specific area that the everyday consumer interacts with daily and the impact of emerging media on this sector has been huge and it’s only growing! Imagine a brick-and-mortar store that takes your measurements via a full body scanner and “recommends the clothes that will best fit your body or seamless checkouts that can be done from inside the dressing room on your mobile phone, eliminating the need to wait in line.” These are the stores of the future, but the future is not so far away, thanks to the increasingly rapid pace with which emerging media are evolving.
For retailers, this light-speed pace means that they will have to adapt to the landscape quickly to ensure they remain a relevant entity with the digital consumer.
One company already doing so is Hointer based in Seattle, Wash. This apparel retailer “keeps only one version of each item on the selling floor, and shoppers use a smartphone app to scan the tags attached to the pieces they want to try on. The items are then dispensed into a dressing room. If shoppers want to buy something, they can scan their digital shopping cart, stored on the app, at a kiosk to check out; if not, they can send the products back to the stockroom by placing them in a chute.”
Or consider well-known retailer, Bloomingdales, which has “incorporated Me-ality body scanners into some of its stores. Shoppers enter a round chamber, known as the Size-Matching Station, and a circling wand collects more than 200,000 reference points from their bodies. They are then given a personalized list of recommended apparel brands and sizes.”
While these technologies aren’t prevalent right now, as technology develops and continues to grow, we will begin to see them more frequently.
Ultimately though, the biggest opportunity for businesses and marketers is to focus on creating an integrated and personal experience for each of their customers across ALL of these digital channels. More than ever, customers want a consistency and integration across all customer touch points. Brands will need to “deliver ONE experience to customers wherever they are in the lifecycle by providing information and content that gives them everything they need to locate, purchase and use their products and services.”
The goal is for customers to not only believe that their shopping experience is customized to their personal preferences, but for those customers to see that personalization across every interaction they have with a business, whether it be in-person, digitally, socially or virtually.
It will be interesting to see how these digital, retail technologies take off in the future. Has anyone seen anything like this in a brick-and-mortar store you visited lately?