VMSD - February 2012 - (Page 16)
NEX T STORE
By Jim Crawford
Viva La Evolution
Changing tool sets require changes in the way that artists wield them.
ONCE AGAIN, I HAD THE PRIVILEGE of presenting at VMSD’s International Retail Design Conference last fall on (surprise, surprise) technology and store design, this time focusing on how technologies can be used to unify the shopping experience across the touchpoints where shoppers engage with a retail brand. After my presentation, a conference attendee asked, “Last year, you talked a lot about QR codes. This year it was augmented reality. How do we know when to invest in which technology?” While the connection between typing in the name of a product, scanning a QR code and using augmented reality was perfectly clear to me (they are all incrementally easier ways to connect a physical object with digital content), I realized that it wasn’t clear to someone who hadn’t been exposed to the way technology and interface had evolved over time. In fact, without that key piece of information, a retailer might think that it had to choose between these technologies rather than have a strategy that evolves through them. This conversation made me realize that one of the things that’s changing the most is the way that store designers are viewing technology: It’s moving away
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from being an oddity and is quickly becoming a core tool in the arsenal. But as the tool sets become more integrated, the skills to wield them effectively are changing. Everything from the business model (who makes money when) to the relationship with the retailer seems to be in flux, all at the same time. And as practical guidance from some of our experiences at bringing the digital and physical processes together, I’d like to offer this five-point checklist:
Normalize the business models and timelines first.
Digital and physical design and implementation work on dramatically different timelines, yet both have critical path milestones that need to be clearly connected. This is compounded by different business models and which services are paid and which are overhead, so crafting a joint engagement takes careful planning and some candid conversations up front.
Make IT your ally. Most retail organizations have some degree of siloing in them. Often, internal technology resources are imperfectly aligned under the “IT” banner, but this poses challenges when bringing digital into the store, since core technology systems like p-o-s and merchandising often impose limitations on what can be done with kiosks, tablets and digital signage. However, IT is probably already looking at or actively piloting next-generation technologies, and a new store design can be a perfect excuse to elevate the pilot.
KA REN BOY HE N, CI NCI N NAT I
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - February 2012
VMSD - February 2012
From the Editor
VMSD Editorial Advisory Board
’tis the Season to Be Social
Passport to the World
A Sharper Image
VMSD - February 2012