I am currently listening to a fantastic presentation by Claire Zuurbier here at #RB-ISE2012 – the @RetailBulletin‘s In-Store Engagement Conference in London.Claire works at the major UK retailer Marks & Spencer (commonly known as M&S) and she’s telling us that M&S is spending GBP 100 million over the next three years on digital in-store experiences.
They have a team of 50 people (which is set to expand) who are looking at how digital technology could help the consumer experience.
They have already seen amazing levels of engagement with their virtual makeover application where consumers can upload a photo and have a virtual makeover instantly.
She warns that interactive application functionality needs to be very simple and straightforward or it will be ignored and that too complicated applications means consumers find it overwhelming – four pieces of functionality for an in store experience is even too much!
M&S are making lots of use of iPads in store – they currently have 77 iPads in 31 stores and their ‘active sellers’ (staff that help consumers use the iPads) are generating in some stores over GBP 50k of sales per week.
They have specifically found that it is important that in store digital propositions are supported by members of staff – to engage the consumers as well as the in store staff.
All in all a fascinating insight into the future of Marks & Spencer.