Frank Mayer and Associates wrapped up a successful GlobalShop retail show this week in the controlled environment of the McCormick Center while storms raged outside in Chicago. Our booth displayed a new look since many of our components were destroyed in a much more serious weather event, Hurricane Sandy, during the lead up to a different show in New York City.
Companies exhibiting at the show strategize about booth design like retailers strategize about store design and product merchandising. For exhibitors to have a successful show, they have to get attendees to “shop” or at least stop at their booth. For retailers that attend the show to succeed, they have to get consumers to stop at their store and shop their brands. Both call for designing spaces that are inviting and providing experiences that cater to what is important to customers. Call it designing for the customer journey.
People attend GlobalShop not only to connect on the show floor, but to be exposed to different points of view in the conference’s educational presentations. Not surprisingly, the concept of designing for the customer journey surfaced in at least two of the conference sessions available on Day 1 of the show.
In “Trends of the Connected Consumer” Florian Vollmer of retail design firm InReality expressed the view that marketing at retail is no longer just about segmentation. A key message was to consider the individual before thinking of the design of the environment. This is a principle that applies to both retail environments and in-store merchandising solutions. Knowing what’s important to the customer, and why, influences design.
To illustrate his point, Mr. Vollmer showed a Temper-Pedic display set up like a mini bedroom. What’s important to buying a mattress? Trying it. What’s uncomfortable about buying a mattress? Trying it out in public. The longer people can experience a mattress the more likely they are to buy it, and a semi-private setting leads to longer trial. The focus here was on the customer and improving the in-store journey that leads to a sale.
“A Glimpse at Brick and Mortar Store Experiences in 2020” actually focused on the opportunities retailers will face in trying to appeal to key customer segments in the not-too-distant future. In this conference session, Lisa Hurst and Brian Priest of shopper agency Upshot noted that while Millennials and Hispanics are segments that retailers must also plan for, it is the Boomers who in five years will control 70% of the income in the country.
Despite advancing age, the spending power of Boomers means they can be drivers of technology sales. The notion being that technology will help them fulfill the vision of a well-lived, empowered life, enabling such activities as financial and health monitoring. At the same time, Boomers will need help in navigating the plethora of choices in complex categories like electronics.
Brian Priest posits that retailers should think about organizing to help customers accomplish tasks – becoming in effect “learning centers.” Among other things a retail section organized around healthful living might show customers how to use devices to monitor vital health statistics and remotely communicate them to health care professionals. The talk may have started by outlining customer segments that will be important to retailers in 2020, but the implication sounds a lot like focusing on the customer journey.
We’re appreciative of all those who made the FMA booth a stop on your GlobalShop journey. External forces like weather may bring about unintended consequences, but we are holding fast to our aim of providing unparalleled support to our customers as they seek to bring relevant retail experiences to theirs.