This is a very short and rushed blog post, its just that I am currently at Marketing Week Live 2012 in London and having an experience that I really wanted to share.
When the folks from Collaboration Matters initially reached out and asked me to support an event they were planning for #mwlive2012 I have to confess I was rather sceptical. They wanted to create a new retail experience that blended the physical with the virtual;
- To build a retail space within the #mwlive2012 tradeshow floor which integrated socialmedia (through various screens) into the retail experience.
- To simulate the behind-the-scenes enterprise (but on full display) and demonstrate how an integrated collaborative system, like IBM Connections, could allow a retailer better interact-with and respond-to their customers.
As the day progressed (we have completed Day 1 of 2) it became increasingly clear that there was something really interesting in this model. That it could completely transform the relationship between retailer and customer. What was even cooler, is that many of these observations & suggestions came from event attendees; models, designers, marketers, buyers, and technologists. An eclectic group of people that would normally never get the chance to interact, let alone innovate together. I know as an IBMer, I don’t normally get a chance to talk with models or shoe designers ;-)
Just a few of the ideas/scenarios that were discussed during the event:
- For the customer: you never have to shop alone! For the women out there you will know what I mean :-) There is nothing worse than having to buy a new pair of shoes or a dress without having a girlfriend there to share her opinion. Imagine a new shop experience where social media was integrated at every stage of the process; including allowing for high-quality photos to be taken and shared from the dressing room. So now you can have your friend, irrespective of where she it located, share her opinion in real-time on a potential new outfit or pair of shoes.
- For the retailer: you don’t loose a client because they can’t make a decision! How often has a customer come into your shop tried on 10 pairs of shoes, but just couldn’t make that final decision without a friend giving their choice the thumbs up. They leave the shop planning to come back in a few days later with one of their friends, but just never get around to it. Or perhaps find somewhere else to buy the same product. It’s in your interest to give the customer access to whatever they need in order to make a decision.
- For the customer: The shopping experience starts from desire and doesn’t end until the cash register goes “ding”! You get an integrated shoping experience that allows you to make the retail journey at your own pace. From the moment you get that party invitation from Mr. Dreamboat, through the discussion around what shoes will go with what dress, until you narrow down some candidates and are ready to start your physical shopping experience. And throughout this time your favorite retailer can provide appropriately-timed, relevent, and non-invasive feedback and suggestions. This interactive experience continues to the physical shop, where the shop assistant knows that you are coming to the shop and what you are planning to try on. And so on. A wonderfully decadent shopping experience. And who say’s the physical retail space is disappearing :-)
- For the retailer: Your staff become a key part of the shopping experience you deliver! By engaging with external socialmedia through your involvement in the “retail journey”, you are gathering deep insights into the motivations and desires of your customers. However, you also have a hugely valuable resource within your enterprise… your staff. Through the enterprise collaboration system they can share their feedback (and those of the clients they are physically interacting with) and this can in turn be used to generate hugely valuable insights. Particularly when combined with transactional data, such as purchases. Adding in gamification in order to incentivize this feedback can generate massive value out of the knowledge resources you already have “untapped” within the enterprise.
And these are just some of the ideas that have been buzzing around the place! It’s been fun, fun, and more fun!
You can find some related information about the event on: