A few years ago, if you’d have told us that we’d be able to walk into a fitting room, try on a shirt, and the mirror would suggest the perfect pair of pants to try on with it, we probably would have laughed. But today, it’s no joke; “smart mirrors” are here. While not (yet) mainstream, shoppers seem to love the technology…even if they have to give up some personal information in exchange for using it.
As retail experiences trend “digical” (that is, digital-meets-physical), how will retailers keep up? How will they ensure that these experiences feel human, not robotic, and gain shoppers’ trust, money, and loyalty in the process? The truth is, no single brand or retailer has it 100% figured out. Yet. Beacons, interactive digital displays, mobile payments, Bluetooth tracking, virtual reality, programmatic marketing – they’re all solid attempts that are getting brands closer. Some will work. Others will fail. But one thing’s for certain: to survive and thrive in this brave new retail world, understanding the demands and lives of today’s shoppers, and working with them to deliver the retail experiences they want, is the clearest course to staying relevant and profitable.
Now more than ever, shopping is defined less by the products people buy and more by the people who buy them and the experiences retailers are designing for them – whenever and wherever they shop. In-store, online, mobile, on TVs, and even on our wrists, the retail landscape is morphing at a pace faster than many major retailers and brands can match, let alone stay ahead of. The challenge isn’t necessarily when or how to collect shopper insights; it’s getting everyone within an organization involved and on board to take fast, tangible action based on the learnings.
Which is why we can’t wait to attend the upcoming OmniShopper 2015 Conference in Chicago. We’re excited to hear how smart brands like Walgreens, Yahoo!, Red Bull, Zappos, Kraft, Lego, and Hershey – among many others – are unearthing insights, then acting on them to deliver wow-worthy retail experiences, drive customer loyalty, and fuel business growth.
We’re particularly looking forward to hearing our Walmart clients’ presentation, Real Rural Shoppers. Real Stories. Real Impact. As the world’s largest retailer, Walmart had plenty of data showing that the average rural American shopper had changed significantly, and swift action was needed to retain and attract them. By building real, ongoing relationships with these shoppers, senior leaders gained a holistic, and more humanistic, understanding of these their lives. Powerful stories and rich immersive experiences triggered empathy in Walmart decision makers in a way that data visualization dashboards or PowerPoint decks simply couldn’t (and, really, what organization isn’t suffering from “data overload” these days?). Immediately, everyone at Walmart “got” these customers – they instinctually felt their challenges, habits, motivations, and daily realities. The insights became deeply ingrained across departments – and at every level – enabling Walmart stakeholders to quickly align and act with urgency to meet rural shoppers’ evolving needs.