The future of retail?! It appears the sci-fi movies of the past really did predict the future this time, forget hover boards and robots, in-store demonstrator holograms have arrived!
Although not wide spread yet, the technology is there and some brands are already tapping into it in order to deliver a consistent message across a number of locations. The holograms are set to change the way we see visual media in-store and I am sure that they will be incredibly useful in some scenarios. They are for example already being used extensively at airports – allowing the opportunity to repeat the same message in several languages.
However we shouldn’t get too excited! Taking out all human interaction in a relationship with a brand could prove problematic. In my opinion the virtual demonstrators should be viewed as an advancement in print media not as an alternative to “real”, highly trained in-store demonstrators.
While a virtual demonstrator will deliver one consistent message, internationally, in multiple languages in order to educate a consumer, the technology can only go so far. Trained sales demonstrators are obviously able to interact with consumers. Answering questions and tailoring the experience to their audience, brand ambassadors are be able to steer a conversation in order to lead to sales conversions. The human touch allows for a greater level of customer service ultimately leading to increased sales, a longer term relationship and ultimately a happy consumer – and brand!
We will all have to watch with interest to see how this technology and the future of the retail environment develops. In an age where the virtual, online world is growing and the face of the high-street begins to change (almost beyond recognition) I believe more than ever there is a need for real-time, face-to-face, human interaction.