Traditional retailers face a growing challenge from online sales which offer more stock, lower prices, and far greater convenience. To compete, they have to offer more than just shelves full of items for sale. They have to offer experiences.
The new generation of retail sales technology needs to have “stopping power” - the ability to make a potential customer stop, look, and ultimately purchase.
The deployment of stopping power is carefully designed to create an exciting and memorable customer journey.
First, attract people on the street and entice them into the store. Next, greet them and make them feel excited about coming in. Then offer them innovative technology that makes their shopping experience easy and enjoyable, and also gives them entertaining things to do so that they will tell others about their visit.
Get the customer’s attention
Traditional advertising methods are becoming less effective as shoppers tune out billboards, store displays, and even video advertising. In an increasingly cluttered retail environment, it takes something special to make people take notice you.
Large interactive screens in store windows, such as the Ombori Customer Remote, offer something new and different. They respond to the presence of passers-by, and allow potential customers to engage with the display via their mobile device. Even while standing on the street, shoppers can see featured items, browse the inventory, and find deals. And because it’s public, these screens never fail to draw a small crowd of onlookers waiting for their turn to control the screen. That’s often enough to entice people to go inside.
Welcome the customer
When the customer enters, another smart screen detects their entry and greets them using voice, creating a wonderful moment of surprise and delight.
Like the exterior remote, the welcome screen also lets them browse and find deals, as well as helping them to find items in the store. Before they’ve even reached the shelves, customers feel that the store is making their trip as convenient and cost-effective as possible.
Inside is where the real fun begins.
Endless Aisle touch-screens help customers find out more about products, using barcode scanners to pull up rich product information. Customers can save coupons to their mobiles, and then either purchase immediately or make an online purchase later.
The biggest attractions, however, are devices that entice shoppers to play.
The Voice Interactive Mirror is a voice-based screen with a camera that allows users to take photos they can share with their friends, and it gives out coupons as rewards. We originally launched it at H&M’s Manhattan store earlier this year, and our new, improved version has just been deployed in the Ibn Battutah Mall in Dubai. People just love playing with it, and the mirror always attracts attention.
It’s all about the Customer Experience
The key isn’t in the functionality. It’s about the UI and the human-machine interaction.
The devices have to be immediately intuitive and fun to use, while providing the right level of useful services. It’s tempting to make the screens as sophisticated as a laptop or mobile app, but users don’t have time or inclination to figure all that out. If they don’t understand right away what they can do, they’ll walk on by. That means zero stopping power.
Most importantly, stopping power comes from that very first half-second of engagement.
We can’t rely on the customer noticing the device: instead, the device notices the customer and proactively engages with them, either by speaking to them or by changing the display. Getting the balance right is critical: if the device is too proactive, it comes across as intrusive and pushy, which will turn customers off. If it’s too passive, it’s not doing its job.
Inevitably, most of the stopping power derives from the novelty of these devices. Like every other sales tool, once they’re everywhere, they’ll lose some of their power. But for retailers who want to differentiate themselves right now, they’re a surefire way to attract new customers and boost sales.
Björn is Chief Experience Officer of Ombori Grid. He spent the early part of his career in the music business before moving into retail design and video production. His passion is for creating unique and memorable retail experiences that excite and delight customers. He spent 6 years at Visual Art in Stockholm before joining Ombori in 2018.