Facebook Mobile Ads Driving In-store Customer Traffic

Are Facebook mobile ads really driving in-store customer traffic?

According to an article posted by The Guardian research conducted by Vizeum and iProspect showed an 11% increase in store visits to ikea for those exposed to geo-targeted Facebook ads

Today consumers are more constantly connected through phones, tablets, eyewear and other devices than ever before. Retail analysts strongly predict, through these devices, customers are exposed to mobile ads, online coupons, blogs, geolocation  apps and online reviews which has influenced customer buying behavior. Retailers are quickly embracing omni-channel strategies in order to leverage online engagement to drive more sales in store.


From the article:

An experimental campaign put together by Vizeum on behalf of Ikea has given a glimpse of the potential for accurate marketing-spend attribution through the use of social network and mobile phone data.

The test campaign, conducted over two weeks, matched Facebook usage and EE data to measure the uplift in visits to the Ikea store in Cardiff from those who had seen targeted Ikea adverts on Facebook. The results showed an 11% average increase in store visits among more than 172,000 people who were served adverts, compared with an otherwise identical same-size group that had not seen the adverts.

The research measured store traffic uplift from those who had seen Ikea ads over a two-week period. The test delivered 1.4m impressions and saw the biggest impact among 22 to 25-year-olds: there was a 31% increase in store visits among this group. The 26 to 35-year-olds were up 11% compared to the non-exposed group. These visitors gave Ikea a return on investment of 6:1 against their media spend with Facebook, which was geotargeted around Cardiff and ran for two weeks during December 2013 and January 2014.

Phillip Dyte, paid social media manager at iProspect, the agency charged with executing the campaign, explained why this methodology was unique: “Together with Facebook, Vizeum and Isobar, we worked closely to serve News Feed ads to Ikea’s Cardiff audience, ensuring we reached a statistically robust number of unique local impressions. EE then analysed device activity within a geofenced area around the Ikea store – removing staff, people who lived in the area and passers-by. The resulting figures are really clean of misleading variables.”

When asked if the results were a product of the busy marketing environment during December and January, Dyte emphasised the unique methodology which makes this a fair test.

“When people raised the point that it’s Christmas and there’s so much marketing activity going on, our argument was that it’s Christmas for the non-exposed group as well. Everyone will be exposed to the same environment, so you’re not measuring artificial uplift that is caused by the seasonality, because the non-exposed group also has the seasonability. Anything that applies as a variable applies to both groups. The only difference is that some people saw adverts and others didn’t. It’s such a strong methodology – that’s why it’s so bullet-proof.

“This was experimental technology testing an experimental hypothesis. There was no guarantee of success. In the past you would have had to make assumptions and you’ve had to incentivise it using couponing or something, but none of that is really a fair test. But this is a fair test.”

These sorts of partnerships between banks, mobile networks and social networks to combine datasets such as these are becoming more common. Partnerships between mobile data providers – such as Weve, backed by EE, and supermarkets and banks such as Tesco andMastercard – are becoming more common. “Those partnerships are mutually beneficial, but they’re driven by tech which, over the last year or so, has advanced to the level which now allows us to do this,” said Dyte. “People are saying ‘Wow, this is possible now.’ “

Chris Gobby, head of EE mData, said: “We’re delighted to be a part of this innovative advertising effectiveness study with Ikea, Facebook, Vizeum and iProspect. EE mData has unique ability to deliver exciting new insights in the mobile space – combining anonymised and aggregated mobile web and location data to provide landmark results in advertising measurement.”

Richard Morris, managing director of Vizeum, said social media now plays a vital role in the advertising strategy for brands: “This study clearly demonstrates the impact that ads on Facebook have on brick-and-mortar foot traffic for retailers. These innovative strategies that combine mobile, local and social media for our clients are the future of digital marketing. The methodology is brilliantly executed, and the results show clearly, empirically, that Facebook adverts have driven real-world footfall.”

Uniqlo’s Killer Business Strategy

Since opening their first store in the US in 2005, the Japanese casual wear designer, manufacturer and retailer Uniqlo has swept the American retail scene by storm. Just like their competitors at Zara and H&M, Uniqlo has quickly become a visionary leader in retail.

We were pleased when we recently found Uniqlo’s business model posted on their parent company Fast Retailing’s website. We thought we’d share the secret sauce behind one of the world’s leading brands.


*Image belongs to Fast Retailing Co, LTD

Their approach is simple – “UNIQLO clothes are MADE FOR ALL.” Since 1984, they have been committed to developing long-lasting clothing items that transcend across all categories and social groups, offering a seemingly unlimited supply of everyone-has-them – or should-have-them – apparel basics.

Uniqlo has established a SPA (Specialty store retailer of Private label Apparel) business model, which encompasses the entire clothes making process –from design and production to final sale. This model allows the retailer to successfully differentiate itself from other companies, by developing unique products based on selling highly finished elements of style rather than the pursuit of fashion trends.

Research & Development  (Designers/Pattern Makers)

Uniqlo’s designers work with project teams to develop new fabrics before studying fashion trends. Once the laboratory develops a new fabric, designers in Tokyo, New York, Paris, and Milano begin to make designs that fit the new fabric. Concept meetings happen around one year before a product launch. R&D then engages with merchandising, marketing, materials development and product departments to discuss and finalize concepts based on seasonal increments.

Development and Procurement of Materials

Uniqlo strives to provide such high-quality clothing at reasonable prices. Producing over 700 million items annually, Uniqlo can negotiate with global material manufacturers to secure materials at the lowest cost possible. Through setting up a Global Quality Declaration, an increased attention to material quality has led Uniqlo to develop innovative materials with some of the best martial manufactures such as Toray Industries and Kaihara Corporation.


Each Uniqlo store presents a sleek and modern look in a very Apple- meets-Gap way. Visual merchandising displays run from floor-to-ceiling and are no less than eye-catching, to give the illusion there is a lot to be found. The juxtaposed walls of men’s sweaters, women’s tanks, and kid’s T-shirts are tucked into cubbyholes and lining display cases coordinated to the shades in the rainbow. Customers are responding well, with 24,000 visits on a typical Saturday. NewYork Mag stated Uniqlo had become New York’s hottest retailer, an impressive title to be given from the retail and fashion capital of the world.

With Uniqlo’s urban megastore model, an average store is around 37,000 square feet; merchandisers play a vital role from product planning through production to make sure these stores are filled with the right product, at the right place, at the right time.

Merchandisers first meet with the R&D designers, they then apply the concepts for each season in product plans, materials and designs. Seasonal collections such as “Airism” in summer and “Heattech” in winter seasons represent Uniqlo’s philosophy of integrity and freshness.

Next, merchandisers decide the product lineup and volume for each season, paying close attention to a detailed marketing strategy. An important task for merchandisers is to decide when and where to increase or limit production. Decisions around adjusting production in line with demand are made with the product-planning department.


Quality and Production Control

Uniqlo deploys about 400 staff and textile takumi* (skilled artisans) to offices in Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City, Dhaka and Jakarta. The takumi team gives instructions on dyeing technology and techniques to partner factories to insure the best quality of products. Customer concerns regarding quality are communicated immediately to production departments, and then improvements are made weekly to resolve outstanding issues.

Expanding Production Network

Broadening its global reach, Uniqlo has formed business relationships with partner factories in China, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Production offices in Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City, Dhaka and Jakarta to ensure clothes are made to the highest global standard of quality.

Inventory Control

The Inventory Control Department maintains the optimal level of store inventory by observing sales and stock on a weekly basis, and dispatching necessary inventory and new products to fulfill product orders. At the end of each season, merchandisers and the marketing teams help coordinate the timing of markdowns and sales (typically 20 to 30% off*) to ensure that inventory is sold.


Marketing promotions are done by season. During campaigns, Uniqlo advertises core products, such as fleece, jackets, polo shirts and HEATTECH. Uniqlo uses TV, flyers (Japan) and other media sources to promote offerings and discounts that week.

Online Store

Sales from the Uniqlo Japan Online Store totaled 24.2 billion yen in fiscal 2013, or 3.5% of total sales. Uniqlo online portals are also in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the U.S. (Revenue from this has not been disclosed)

Customer Center

90,000 comments and requests are handles yearly.

Uniqlo Stores

For store locations, Uniqlo actively searches for areas with high potentials, usually in high-end shipping malls and urban centers. Uniqlo invests heavily into training stuff and awards high-achieving store managers. Some compare Uniqlo’s in-store experience obsession to a turbocharged version of kaizen, the Japanese concept that translates roughly as the continuous search for perfection. Uniqlo prescribes, records and analyzes every activity done at the store level, from folding techniques to how cashiers return credit cards.

Uniqlo business model has been successful in growing the empire; their aggressive expansion plan by year’s end is to have 39 US stores – with stores in Los Angeles and Boston – up from 20 at the start of the year. Uniqlo is the fourth-largest specialty-apparel store in the world behind Zara, H&M, and Gap; with sales around $10 Billion.


*”UNIQLO Business Model.” FAST RETAILING CO., LTD. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 May 2014.

Written by: Rebecca Shirazi

Rebecca Shirazi is the marketing manager at RBM Technologies. She is a frequent contributor to MerchandisingMatters.com, where she writes in the areas of marketing, merchandising and supply chain.

13 Years of Apple Stores in 60 Seconds

Monday, May 19th, marks the 13th anniversary of the first Apple Store!

“Sorry Steve… Apple Stores Won’t Work” – announced Businessweek exactly 13 years ago as the first Apple Store opened its doors in Virginia. Today with 424 stores, across 16 countries, Apple once again proved that they can do anything they put their mind to.

Click to see the map in Real-time:  Here


* Map has been Published by Retale

How does Google influence the retail customer journey?

Did you know YouTube influences purchases more strongly than TV? Ben Davis at Econsultancy explores how Google influences the customer journey at 12 touch points, from online to offline. The customer journey is one that is complex and retailers continue to strive to understand the path to purchase. The article uncovers some interesting and insightful statics on trends within the industry and how Google has acted on those trends to continue to influence the customer journey. Retailers should embrace Google’s products and services if they want to stay close to the customer journey.

From the article:

Google has a big impact on the retail shopping journey, both online and off. 

I’ve previously written about the smartphone customer journey, but given increases in Android market share, retail sales, the proportion of retail sales online, and mobile sales, I thought I should take another look.

So, how does the customer interact with Google services in the course of her journey to purchase?

Be prepared for a stat-fest, from search to mobile, YouTube to in-store.

Online sales landscape

Online sales are only getting more important. Here are some stats to prove it.

Forrester estimates that more than 50% of U.S. offline retail sales will be influenced by the web by 2017. That’s $1.8tn in store sales influenced by online.

In Q1 2014, US ecommerce revenue was up 11% over Q1 2013, and orders were up 13% according to the US Dept. of Commerce.

At the end of 2013, the share of online sales out of all retail sales in the US was 6%, up from 5% in 2012. In 2013, ecommerce in the US grew by 16.9% over the previous year, while total retail only grew by 4.2%. 

online and offline retail growth

(Taken from Custora’s Q1 report)

Mobile landscape

As online sales become a greater percentage of total retails sales, so too does mobile take a bigger proportion of online sales.

Mobile commerce (includes tablets) continues to grow in 2014, from 13.7% to 18.5% of total online orders in the US.

mobile online orders

Path to purchase online

Looking at online sales only, Google Insights shows how the path to purchase is influenced by various marketing channels online in the US.

You can see that organic search and paid search feature very prominently as the last interaction before purchase, eclipsed only by people going direct.

Google’s display network is less directly involved, being useful for awareness rather than driving action.

(click to enlarge)

path to purchase

Search and its impact on ecommerce

Obviously, this is Google’s core product and still influences online shopping more than pretty much anything else.

Search began almost 44% of all US ecommerce transactions in Q1 2014 according to the Custora report referenced earlier. 24% originated in organic search queries, and 20% in paid search ads.

Google has around 75% of paid search share and 67% of total search share in the US.

Mcommerce by device: iOS VS Android

Android is enjoying around half of device market share globally, depending on which figures you look at. It lags behind looking at sales made on these devices versus iOS, but the disparity is getting smaller.

iOS devices take close to 80% of US mobile orders but Android devices are gaining share, with 21.5% of orders in the Q1 2014, up from 17.1% in 2013.

Local search

It’s important and it happens a lot.

Google and Ipsos Media research shows that local searches are commonplace. Four in five smartphone users have used search to find products, services or experiences nearby.

Respondents (a sample of 4,500 smartphone users) said they searched for local information on their computer or tablet in a variety of places, including at home (76%) and at work (24%).

On smartphones they searched at home (53%), on the go (51%) and in stores and malls (41%) amongst other places.

And when consumers are outside of the home, the majority of their smartphone searches are local (56%), as are 51% of those done in-store.

Local searches lead to action

Local search is a good indicator of intent to shop, with 34% of consumers who sought local information on their computer or tablet making their way to a store within a day. For smartphone searchers the figure is higher at 50%.

Once in-store, they continue to search locally. A greater percentage of local searches lead to a purchase within a day versus non-local searches (18% vs. 7%).

In-store mobile use and pre-shopping use

Consumers wishing to research products in store are much more likely to choose search (which Google dominates on mobile) than, for example, a retail app.

search is top in-store tool for research

Of course, Google maps, click-to-call from search and perhaps increasingly Google Wallet, all these influence retail sales.

Mobile plays a part in a variety of activities prior to shopping, including price comparison, product availability and finding promotion offers. It therefore follows that a retailer’s mobile search strategy should take these intentions into account.

preshopping activities on a smartphone

AdWords driving offline sales

Google has also commissioned a meta-analysis of paid search ad experiments with 13 top U.S. retailers, conducted by Applied Predictive Technologies.

This research points to search ads driving incremental offline sales. The methodology shows that this is fairly high budget stuff, with retailers having an average of 1,115 stores and spending an average incremental $287,031 on search ad budget.

Some of this uplift of offline sales may be attributable to increased brand awareness and having nto read the whole study I can’t say what other variables weren’t controlled for. However, the channel shows decent sales return for retailers and is still a major tactic for retailers wanting to sell branded items.

One participating retailer invested $466K in search ads over a six-week period and saw an in-store sales increase of $5.6 million.

Google Shopping and its product listing ads is obviously a factor in paid search, too.

sales return on paid search spend

YouTube’s influence on purchase

The Top 500 Brands on YouTube have grown their average monthly views by 70% in 2013. It’s obviously represents a sizable chunk of media consumption for many people, especially generation Y.

And Youtube influences purchase, according to a Google TNS study. Again this is very much about brand awareness, but it still plays a part in retail. The stats below show how YouTube trumps TV for respondents that admit to being influenced when buying beauty products, smartphones and cars.

YouTube, because it is completely on-demand, may be seen as more of a learning and research tool than TV.

youtube influences purchases more than tv



Google has sold the device in a retail setting for the first time (at a golf event). Is this the next level of Google’s influence on the retail customer journey?

Maybe, but perhaps Amazon will be the big tech company most likely to further disrupt the retail space (it’s arguably done so as much as Google, thus far), with its Amazon Dash product.

Google Glass

Google retail stores?

Reports suggest Google will soon open a store in New York, allowing it to push hardware more, in the style of Apple.

If this leads to more Chromebooks and possibly Glass on the market (admittedly, many more stores would be needed, but you can see this development doing a lot for brand awareness of hardware), maybe Google will become a pretty powerful retailer in its own right.

Jennifer Aniston set to open up brick & mortar lab in Cambridge MA

Jennifer Aniston has always been known for her outrageously gorgeous hair. Knowing a thing or two about maintaining her beautiful locks, in 2012, Aniston decided to invest in a small, Cambridge-based hair care company called Living Proof. For those not living in the Boston area, Living Proof is not just an ordinary hair care line. Founded by acclaimed MIT professor and biotech inventor, Bob Langer, the products sold by Living Proof are not made with “off-the-shelf” ingredients.

Langer says the company’s goal is to challenge conventional wisdom to solve the toughest beauty problems. “Using technology originating from MIT and Harvard, we invent and patent new molecules that have never been used in beauty before,” he says.

Living Proof’s newest strategy is to open a brick and mortar lab where scientists, stylists and the public come together to test new products in an upscale, retail environment.


Picture taken from Bostonmagazine.com

Jennifer Aniston sat down with Boston Magazine last Friday to talk about Living Proof’s new venture, called the Living Proof Style Lab, with is essentially a beauty test kitchen and retail concept space that serves as a consumer-facing extension of the company’s Cambridge labs. The in-store experience will allow customers to interact with brand and ask an actual scientist questions about the product. How cool is that?!

Below, Boston Magazine’s full Q&A with Jennifer Aniston:

[MM] The space was designed by Boston-based Hacin + Associates, but I was told you had a lot of input in the design. What did you work on exactly?

[JA] Well, they showed me the materials, the floor plan, and the layout and design, and I felt it was a bit on the side of being a science lab. It was very much metals and lacquers and I sort of suggested bringing in reclaimed woods and, you know, old materials mixed in with a more modern, mid-century kind of feel. It didn’t feel cozy or like a place where you’d want to go and get pampered or play.

Do you really use the products?

Every day.

What do you use most often? 

Well, the Restore I love because of all the wear and tear [my hair] gets. I also love the No Frizz. Also, Perfect Hair Day came about with [my hair stylist] Chris [McMillan] and I saying, “We’ve spent 25 years in a hair chair together, so the amount of mixing and the alchemy that we’ve done is a lot. It’s like, take a little paste from here, take a serum from here, let’s do a beach spray, and then here ya go.” Then, of course, the Restore Mask is what I use every Sunday, especially in the summer. It’s great to put in your hair when you’re sitting by the pool before you go into chlorine because it will protect from the damage.

There are a lot of pictures out there of you at pools.

I’m tanorexic. But we should all use at least SPF 50.

You’ve been known for your hair for more than two decades. Of all the different hairstyles, which is your favorite? Please don’t say the “Rachel,” please don’t say the “Rachel.”

The “Rachel” became the bane of my existence, and that was so funny because it was so hard to style! I was like “Great, so now what do I do?” I have this ’fro or I have to go to you every day, Chris [McMillan], to help me style it. So it became a battle against me, my hair brush, and a blow dryer, just at odds. My favorite haircut is always just simple, long layers. Just long and easy. I don’t like “hairdos.” That’s why even when I’ve cut it short just to have fun and change it up, I usually go back to what feels really me.

Right now your hair is brunette and shorter, just above the shoulders. Are you going back to your signature blonde soon?

Well, I just wrapped a movie two nights ago, and this was just for the job. So yeah, I didn’t have any time to go back. And I don’t know if I want to go back now because this is sort of my natural color.

If there was one thing you wish you knew at 30, or one thing that you wish you could tell your 30-year-old self, what would it be?

I mean, where do I begin? Don’t sweat the small stuff. You won’t care as much as you think. As much as you care right now, as much as you worry… worry is such a waste of time. Just enjoy where you are. That’s the thing: as you get older, you start to realize, “God, why didn’t I take more time to enjoy where I was, as opposed to trying to get to the next destination?” Those destinations start to creep up really quickly.

Well said. I always say I’d tell my 20-year-old self to wear a bikini every day.

Yeah, I didn’t wear bikinis in my 20s. I didn’t start to get into shape where I thought I could wear a bikini until I was a little older.

That’s surprising because you’ve been known for your fit physique for a long time. I’ve read that you practice yoga often. Is that true? 

I’ve been practicing yoga let’s say… almost 10 years now.

How often do you practice?

Like four or five times a week.

What type of yoga?

Mandy [Ingber], my friend for 25 years, is also my yoga teacher. She’s also a spin instructor. She’s everything to me. We do a combination of spin and yoga. She does a combination of all different kinds of yoga and the calisthenics, so she mixes it up. Some days we heat up the room depending on what we feel like, but we just mix it up. We’ll do 40 minutes of spin, then 30 minutes of yoga. It’s a really great work out.

 The Living Proof Style Lab will be located at 301 Binney Street (entrance on the corner of Fulkerson and Rogers Streets) in Cambridge; sign up for the wait list here; for more information, visit livingproof.com.

Motorola Solutions, ET1 Enterprise Tablet, RBM Technologies, RIS News

Motorola Solutions gets serious about shaking up shopping

Brick-and-mortar stores still stand as retail’s strongest channel; where more than 80% of buying happens at the shelf, retailers have been heavily investing in infrastructure, technology, operations and service to continue to provide shoppers with a remarkable in-store shopping experience. Motorola Solutions the leading communications and telecommunications equipment provider has been taking part in the reinvention of in-store shopping experience over the past several years. Currently, Motorola technology is used by the top 100 retailers, from mobile tablets to bar code scanners. Their recent launch of their mobile marketing platform — Mpact — Motorola is expanding their solutions to further meet the need to enrich the brick-and-mortar shopping experience.

From the Washington Post article:

Motorola Solutions is the latest entrant to take on the reinvention of in-store shopping. It’s launching a comprehensive mobile marketing platform — Mpact — for retailers who want to use cutting-edge technology to enrich their brick-and-mortar shopping experience.

“We believe this is going to become not only an absolutely critical part of retailers’ way of interacting with you. In fact they have to give you all of the best benefits that you’re used to getting from an Amazon environment if they want to be able to compete. They’re going to have to implement this one way or another,” said Barry Issberner, marketing director for enterprise solutions at Motorola Solutions.

Physical stores still account for the overwhelming majority of sales, so businesses are determined to optimize their in-store experience. One of the most promising solutions is beacons, Bluetooth-powered sensors placed throughout stores. Motorola will begin selling its own beacons, which will deliver location-based information and deals to customers’ smartphones. Motorola Solutions will also provide retailers analytics of the in-store location data and upkeep of the network of beacons.

It’s partnering with a handful of companies focused on retail innovations — Swirl, Aisle411, Digby and Phunware — to make the experience possible.

Motorola Solutions appears well-positioned to deliver its platform given its existing relationships with retailers. Motorola technology is already in use in the 100 top retailers. It provides everything from devices to scan barcodes to WiFi network infrastructure. Given the popularity of smartphones, Motorola Solutions realized it had the chance to grow its offerings to stores.

“What we see is that vocal minority of shoppers today — which we think will become the majority over time — that want to use that personal mobile device as an interaction tool,” Issberner said.

A unique aspect of Motorola Solutions’ approach to reinventing retail is including WiFi.

“The other folks in this space have isolated this to just the Bluetooth Low Energy capability, and we think that is really not giving the retailer the level of scalability and capability that they’re after,” Issberner said.

“As marketing campaigns get more sophisticated with rich imagery, even perhaps audio and video down the line, you’re going to need that strong connectivity,” Swirl chief executive Hilmi Ozguc said. “And unfortunately cellphone coverage isn’t great inside some of these stores.”

Motorola imagines a time when it’s normal to have a live video chat with a store employee.

“You can chat with someone at corporate headquarters at Best Buy who is an absolute expert on that TV you’re considering. That is coming. Most retailers can’t support that today, but that is going to happen and that is going to evolve,” Issberner said.

Motorola Solutions’ interest in beacons is the latest example of the building momentum behind the devices, which have the potential to remake our experiences in all physical places. But the company is staying open-minded about alternatives as well for delivering an engaging, location-based experience to customers. For example,Philips is developing lights with built-in sensors that detect the location of shoppers.

“We’re seeing a time in the market where the playing field of online and in-store is being leveled,” Aisle 411 chief executive Nathan Pettyjohn said. “For a long long time the in-store, the brick and mortar had won and dominated. They’re at a critical point where they have to digitize the physical store so it all works together, or the physical retailers are at a huge risk of losing ground.”

IBM’s Five Technology Trends That Will Drive Retail Innovation

In a video posted by IBM UK, Martin Butler, Retail Industry Leader for IBM UK and Ireland, predicts the 5 technology trends to look for in 2014. Retailers who are successful are those who can create a strong culture of innovation across their organization and can successfully pilot and drive these changes.

Here is Martin Butler’s predictions:

1. Create Value Using Social Media

2014 is when social media is going to come into its own, to help shoppers with their wants and needs. Analyzing social data at an aggregated level, such as trends, help retailers plan their businesses earlier versus the traditional forums such as focus groups, market research and press. Through new social media analytics, brands can quicker, easier and more accurately spot and act on trends as they emerge. Sifting through real-time detailed data will provide valuable information to buyers, merchandisers and marketers about customers perception about your brand and product. 

2. Predictive Analytics

For retailers the emerging power around advance analytics will drive an ever increasing level of personalized service to customers. Systems that can learn and predict based on cognitive computing will help make shopping experiences individually compelling. For example real-time personalized promotions in store, which in turn, will help improve the customer experience. 

3. Mobile in Mind

When designing new innovations – keep mobile in mind. As shoppers become smarter through mobile devices, mobile will become a much more important role. Be ready to embrace location based, augmented reality and gamification applications. These applications will encourage repeat purchases by allowing customers to be more actively engaged with the band. 

4. Internet of things 

With Wifi in stores, video cameras and energy management systems retailers must invest heavily into their IT infrastructure at the brick and mortar level. Data flying across the customer, retailer and supplier all connected in real-time; this is going to underpin further innovation.  

5. Multi-media & analytics; sound & video

This will mature massively in the next twelve months, Butler is absolutely sure more business models around this will continue to emerge. 

Staples Launches In-Store 3D Printing Experience

Retail is quickly becoming the consumer 3D printing scene, from the opening of MakerBot stores to printing 3D makeup, 3D printers are taking the retail route to go mainstream. The idea to open up the retail space so people can come in, look at a variety of printed objects or printers to buy. There is no better way to check out a new product than to experience it in person.

One major retailer just did just that. Staples is running a pilot with two stores, one on the east and west coast, where they opened up their retail space for customers to experience and interact with the latest 3D technology. Each Staples’ store features an immersive 3D printing experience center that lets consumers and small businesses create personalized products and use 3D printing hardware. Customers can also bring in their own 3D print-ready files to have them printed.

More from the article posted by Industrial Distribution

3D Systems announced a partnership with Staples, Inc. in a pilot of 3D printing services in two Staples stores in New York City and Los Angeles.

Each Staples store features an immersive 3D printing experience center that lets consumers and small businesses create personalized products and use 3D printing hardware. Customers can also bring in their own 3D print-ready files to have them printed.

“3D printing offers enormous potential for small businesses, and by using Staples, they can print with the technology without having to invest in it,” said Damien Leigh, Senior Vice President of Business Services for Staples, Inc. “The test with 3D Systems will help us learn about our customers’ needs for a local 3D printing service, and how Staples can help them make more happen for their business through 3D printing.”

“Staples’ established reputation as a leader in home office and small business solutions makes them an ideal partner for testing out live, consumer-facing 3D print services,” said Rajeev Kulkarni, 3DS’ Vice President and General Manager, Consumer Products Division. “We have been thrilled with the retail experience and response from our audience, and the difference it makes being able to see, touch and experience 3D printing.”

With the new experience centers, both small businesses and consumers are able to learn more about 3D printing through demonstration areas where they can use design software and see 3D Systems printers in action. Each store will have a 3DMe(R) Photobooth from 3D Systems to capture customers’ facial images for the purpose of personalizing 3D products like figurines, and customers can also print personalized smart phone cases.

Each store has an expert from 3D Systems on-site, along with trained Copy & Print associates from Staples to help guide customers on their 3D printing journey. The items will be printed on site or through 3D Systems and shipped directly to their offices or home.

Staples previously announced in May of 2013 that it would be the first major U.S. retailer to carry 3D printers, with the launch of the Cube(R) from 3D Systems on Staples.com. The company has since rolled out 3D printing hardware and accessories in a limited number of stores, and expanded its overall product selection.

How Seeing More Increases eCommerce Engagement

At the mall shoppers have the opportunity to take only a few steps into a store to gain a visual representation of what items are available prior to committing to viewing the stores range in greater detail. That all important first scan of the store can be critical.

On the other hand, eCommerce traditionally does not provide shoppers with a comparative experience online.

Online Retail Display

Online stores have only limited screen space in the first view to wow customers and keep them on their site and looking for more. Ten to twelve flat images in a standard grid as a first impression for customers makes grabbing their attention difficult.

The customers who do commit to exploring more typically have to scroll through pages and pages of products to find images worthy of continuing their shopping experience on that site. This situation can lead to buyer’s fatigue, where shoppers have browsed so many pages of items that they simply lose interest and leave the site.

An online presence should excite visitors enough so that they not only return but they tell others about the experience they had.

So how can online retailers overcome this?

It’s simple. By helping your site visitors find items of interest to them quicker and allow them to feel in control by providing an interactive experience.

Research shows that images are the most important factor in the online shopping experience, more important even than price. When we shop we scan many items and allow one to catch our eye, tracking subtle factors such as colour, shape and position.

What does this mean to you, the online retailer, seeking new points of difference as online shopping matures? It means that existing online image galleries are counter-intuitive to the way people shop in real life. A static, flat 2D grid does not meet the needs of customers to visually scan and interact with products.

Author Bio
Shaylee Rogers is the Marketing Coordinator for thereitis & Show. See. Sold. Interactive Display for Shopify. Learn more about Interactive Display at http://www.showseesold.com