Saturday, January 7, 2012

12 Days of Display Trends - No.4 Technology

Okay- bit of a pause, I have some exciting things happening this January and am SO excited to share.... Bare with me dear readers! 


As we trek down this developing path of trends that will stand out within the Visual Merchandising world, I am JUST not speaking about social media or the internet age. I mean, more and more I see neon lights, computer lights and interacting mediums invading the shopping space. Some like this technological addition, however most retail wonders " how can i integrate technology to help my ______" 

Stop avoiding the reality, and embrace technology. ... yah yah, But how? Let me show you a few ways retailers are USING technology as a friend, not foe. 

In 2007, H & M, mega retailer discovered a clever way to find a way in, a way to connect with an entire generation who can type with two thumbs faster than you can apply lip gloss. Finding the connection with technologically savvy and the smartphone-glued-to-hand high schoolers. 
The brand began to figure out how to connect with an audience, so- thanks to the brilliance that is semacodes ( ie: those square bar code things you scan, thusly adding info to your smartphone and brining you to a link regarding the code you scanned) On their public ads. Anyone in bus stops, train stations, malls.... anywhere were able to scan the semacode that appeared near an item that they were interested in. When scanned, the bar code brings the user to a website with information about the garment, colours, price, and store availability. Not only did it give info on the garment- the semacode linked with a phones internal GPS system to show the user where the closest store was....... so they could waltz in and purchase the article they saw on the bus-ad 15 minutes ago. 

Not only does this bring the buyer closer to its personal connection with the brand- the user would able to buy the garment and it would be charged via their cell phone bills. (whaaaaaaaaaaaatttttt) 

Okay, moving on:  

there is a big fear that technology, or the innovative software & low price-hunting programs and platforms are bascially going to ruin the idea of a traditional store. Now, I am not saying I would agree with this statement- however It is true that the ease of technology has seperated buying into online, or instore and online shopping dominated holiday sales in 2011. There must be something to this barren-till hysteria.  Companys like Zugara  that have created 'Virtual Change room's' , which essentially eliminate the requirement to head into a physical store. 

There are positive and negative points with this-

 Positive :

  •  Individuals who perhaps cannot leave the house as often as they would like or people who simply find on-line shopping way easier and not as stressful. 
  • You can save tremendous time when shopping for gifts, and with the use of virtual change room's- more shopping can be done on-line.
  • The on-line sales will obviously ten-fold as customers from far and wide are able to 'try on' way more products than I'm sure the seasoned shopper ever could in one hour
  • Its obviously way more fun to not get into a store with terrible lighting, and try on clothes that make you sad. ( ..... just me?) 

I think we can think of some negatives here- and many people raise interesting and well thought reasons why possibilities are scary...  without getting all debbie downer on you I feel like we must use technology to our advantage. 

This video, produced by Cicso gives us a great opportunity here, a look on how to mix technology 


An off handed post I wrote a few weeks ago touched- or ranted... whatever- about how customer service needs to be the guiding light that brings retail, and a whole economy on it back into the sun. A great example of how modern technology can bring the customer experience to a new level, and allowing a customer to try on waaaaaaaaaay more than you or I would probably get to. Entire collections, accessorising and creating whole looks- products a casual customer would probably never discover. 

Below is a video featuring TopShop using augmented fitting rooms, an incredible program that provides users with an interactive shopping opportunity. Notice the screen is actually  cute, not clunky or big- taking away from the experience. 

Not to take away anything from clothing, but I have to be honest- Interior design has basically started this concept of virtual selling, using technology & software to enhance the customer experience.  Benjamin Moore has created a program where average users can upload an image of their bedroom, kitchen, whatever into a 'virtual change room' with your home for many years- in fact it stirred a whole industry on user friendly programs that can re-create your living room, from a virtual perspective. Doing this provided designers, and the college student and everyone in between to have a positive experience in seeing their space finished before actually committing to the labour, and assisting the 'sell' of a space. Now, you can find zillions of programs on-line, or speciality software that does just this on varying levels.

There is so much possibility with technology becoming faster, lighter, stronger- we must not fear what we don't understand, and embrace how, and how to innovate it into your store. Ipads, playbooks, iphones ....... flatscreens- so much possibilty is out there, and visual merchandisers & store designers are anxious to share with interested and eager retail clients.... 

i have a few ideas...
email me at

Social Networking & Media is up next... HUGE post darlings. HUGE :D 

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