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Technology can be a difficult thing to navigate for many retailers. There’s a fine balance between the desire to offer customers unique experiences and keeping costs in line. This often results in failed experiments, underwhelming experiences in-store or, worse, getting caught up in the repetitive cycle of buying the next great thing.

While products like Hypervsn, Bluetooth beacons and Planar LookThru are attractive and offer a definite wow factor, without a concrete strategy behind them, fancy holograms and LCD display boxes can quickly become a gimmick once the novelty wears off. When that happens, these items quickly go from adding brand value to the appearance of a cry for attention instead.

Finding the Middle Ground

Customers aren’t attracted solely by bright lights and flashing screens; they’re motivated by brands that care. Nordstrom didn’t become a prominent department store with intricate kiosks raving about the latest sales. It proved its loyalty to customers by having employees walk around the counter to hand shoppers their own individual bag, finding products even if they aren’t in a Nordstrom store, and making the purchase and return process easy.

The trick, then, isn’t to avoid new technology altogether, it’s to use it in a way that best facilitates a human connection. Just look at Nike and Adidas: both brands have certain stores filled with running simulations, basketball courts, and other tech-based activities to let customers try before they buy. It works because the tech is related to the brand. It engages with consumers, teaches proper use of products, and provides a reason to enter (and return to) the brick-and-mortar store.

However, showing customers you care doesn’t have to be this extreme. Traditional fixtures, gondola toppers, and literature racks can all work to create that same immersive experience. Therefore, instead of relying on one technique to sell one piece of content, you can trigger a variety of displays to showcase one storewide attraction to catch every visitor’s eyes.


Deciding what technology will provide the most attractive consumer experience all depends on your industry. Maybe you’ll take the Lowe’s approach and use augmented reality to give customers a firsthand look at their life with the product. Maybe you’ll want a subtler route and resort to endcaps and window displays to create unique art installations. Whatever the case, discern whether these strategies help keep your customers in-store for more than just the novelty.

Read the full article in Total Retail here.

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