With Scala ’s retail vertical growing from 14% of its total verticals to 30% in the past two-and-a-half years, and with a forecast from Tom Nix, CEO, that 44% of the available market is retail, it’s no surprise that two keynotes of the Scala Partner Conference were devoted to the future of retail.
Bryan Eisenberg isn’t in the digital signage business. He’s a best selling author (Call to Action: Secret Formulas to Improve Online Results and Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?: Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing), in demand as a speaker, and, most of all, a keen observer of all the technological, analytical and marketing developments that influence and engage today’s consumer and drive her (or him) to action. He’s also the founder of the Digital Analytics Association.
Eisenberg (and later, Manolo Almagro – separate article to come) talked about the future shopper because Scala partners have to know what is coming so as to help brands prepare for winning those customers and how Scala can help them do that.
“It’s important to mobilize your market,” Eisenberg said. “79% of smart phone users use them to help in shopping; three-quarters of them make a purchase because they’ve used their smart phones; and 88% of them take action to purchase with one day.
“However, mobile shoppers use smart phones but they don’t find it that convenient,” he said, “Google glasses might change all that.”
Eisenberg guided his audience through various customer experiences when shopping in the future, “because the store will not only know you, but know your purchasing behaviour and many more details.
“Imagine if you are diabetic, You could go into the store and, because the store will know who you are, food suitable for you will show up on the screens. Or it will be able to direct you to the right clothing items to fit you because it will know your dimensions.
“Interactive connections and data equal an increase in relevance to the individual consumer,” he said.
Eisenberg drew on Amazon  as an example of a company that has been successful because of its innovation.
“30% of all ecommerce sales went through Amazon last year,” he said. “Amazon spent $6.5 billion in innovation. It was right up there with the big technology companies like IBM ($6.2 billion, Cisco (5.9 billion), Google ($8 billion), and Apple ($4.5 billion).
“Innovation is key. What really changed the retail experience in recent years was Apple. It changed how people want to buy with its retail stores and genius bars.“
Eisenberg forecast that, a few years from now, people will able to download anything from their phones. In fact, within the next five-to-eight years he said that we’ll see something like an Amazon refrigerator that will deliver food when you need it even before you know that you do. It will recognize, eg., that you are low on milk and so it will arrive for you without having to order it. And your Avatar will try on clothes for you so you can see how you like them and how they look on you without you having to try them on, and they’ll be delivered to you.
So how do you prepare for a future when a store will know everything about you and your behavior?
“You must look at the omnichannel,” he said, noting that stores like Best Buy and Target are beginning to use.
Eisenberg talked about Scout in Japan, a purely interactive store where screens change when you lift an item; and about Tesco’s Home Plus virtual stores in Korea where people use their smart phones to shop and what they order is delivered to their homes.
And some advertising will be watching you rather than you watching them, he said, noting that NEC will be testing its age and facial recognition system in the U.S. this spring.
“What can brands do when faced with all the coming changes?
“Take a page from the four pillars of Amazon’s success: customer centricity; continuous optimization; culture of innovation; and corporate agility,” he said. “Advertisers must use the data that exists to adapt at retail. Stores have to change, giving an example of a store that, when asked by a customer to send them a selection of shoes that are trendy, it will send a dozen pairs and let the customer choose and then send back whatever they don’t want at no charge to the customer.
“They have to get to that level of innovation, and people in DOOH have to start showing this type of innovation that exists to the advertisers and brands that they have and to help them find solutions to what is coming in the future.”