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What you need to know about the Future of Retail



The Global Spa and Wellness Summit in Marrakesh, Morocco this past September had a host of very good speakers.

Paul Price, CEO of Creative Realities, USA and Edie Weiner, President of Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc., USA, really got you thinking about the future, and where we’re all going in this rapidly changing world of ours… more specifically, what we’ll need to do to engage the new age consumer.

“Today, every company has to be a tech company, large or small”  Paul Price


Paul says there’s a trend towards smaller, smarter, faster and cheaper.  We’re just getting started with the second industrial revolution…and it’s clearly tech-driven.  It’s time to transfer tech into your spa marketing department … tech is good at conversion and retention.

“Businesses are being run by people who are 20 years younger

than the people they are supervising”  Edie Weiner

Edie coins the phrase ‘Flip Generation’ and encourages us to prepare for this new phenomenon.  And she emphasizes that this generation does NOT have a lesser worth ethic, they have a different work ethic, so be ready for massive changes in the way we do business.

My 5 Takeaways of Interest

 1.  No more ‘mass’ media, it’s now ‘in-store’ media

‘Brand’ and ‘experience’ are interchangeable and you must be your own spa media mogul. We now need to discover how to bring an in-store social layer, including shelf media, into our businesses, keeping all technological edges softened however, with a great experience.

It’s now time to develop a digital merchandising plan.

Ensure your dramatically inspirational message touches all of your primary touch points to optimize the dream.  Consider shelf-level digital media that puts the product in context with your clients needs; use in-store digital signage to enhance your story for the shopper; and offer digital or e-gift cards, all of this in an effort to reduce friction along the path to purchase.

Weiner says to know the definition of luxury, and she says it is ‘that which is much wanted, but is in short supply’.  Therefore:

Time has become the new luxury and must be your new ‘value proposition’

Paul Price specifically states that retail will become an in-store web-based experience. As new payment options explode and power transmission (‘rapid deployment‘) takes over from power cords; smart stores will gradually turn into fulfillment centers, answering to on the spot, same-day and next-day consumer demands.

  • Edie Weiner also commented on payment options and currency, stating that gift cards and reward cards are fast becoming the dominant world currency, but virtual currency such as in the case of gaming currency and even your tweets, are also gaining dominance.

2.  Robotics and Biometric Technology

Asimo by Honda, is the world’s most advanced humanoid robot and this kind of technology will some day soon be able to duplicate the complexities of human motion and even converse with humans, to be able to genuinely help and serve people.

The latest biometric capabilities and screening can now identify and recommend to you, based upon your unique physiological characteristics such as voice recognition, your gait, your iris, etc., allowing for ever greater health and wellness, opportunities and sales.

Long-term CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is the new social commerce.  The future demands that you know where your business and your customers are heading,

because it’s probably not where you think.

Price says to consider that the music business is now half of what it was 10 years ago. Newspapers, television, magazines, gas sales, even taxi drivers…all on the decline, soon to be extinct.

But e-commerce continues to climb, up 30% this year alone.  Mobile is everything and automation will eventually dominate. Millennials are not making the trips the boomers did, and do.  They live and work in the cities and use social chatting as their primary form of entertainment.  All considered, this equates to continued drops in everything the boomers have always considered to be ‘a given‘.

    • He also states that statistics show household income is dropping. Our customers are running out of money.  So Price urges you to take the following 5 shifts seriously, as the new ‘engaged consumer’ will definitely drive your future marketing strategies in a whole new direction.
      1. Segmentation vs. communities – A change from dividing a broad target market into categories of consumers; to ‘tribal’ marketing, where meaningful, shared characteristics come together to form common dreams and interests
      2. Psychographics vs. culture – A move from interests, attitudes, and opinions; to beliefs, values and meanings
      3. Markets vs. ethnographics –  A change from moulding consumers according to statistics; to observing how clients respond in their own environment using certain products and services.  I.E. Panasonic used ethnographic research to uncover the requirements of an electric shaver for women
      4. Surveys vs. semioticsFrom sampling and data collection techniques; to the science of interpreting signs and symbols on the social layer, similar to how linguistics study the meaning of language
      5. Benefits vs. dreams – From providing solutions, to fulfilling dreams.

3.  3D Printing

Paul Price believes that 3D printing is the next revolution (and I agree with him), for a ‘Just in Time‘ retail experience.  No more warehousing, just consumers uploading or downloading 3D design files and printing them out at home or in the office, on their own 3D printers.

4.  Automated Retail

le distributeur nailmatic 6 euros.001.001

This is also very exciting to me.  It’s the use of machines to sell retail products and it is a new sales channel for retailers to be able to reach customers in an innovative, non-traditional way. So maybe your competitive technical advantage to peak the user experience will be to install vending machines to sell your skin care lines with you.  After all, the convenience of automated retail may still be considered a boost to the buyer experience, right?

4.  Lighting & Energy

GE budapest

Lighting will continue to escalate in importance and become even more forefront in consumer purchasing decisions.  Smart integration of lights that can affect mood will become dominant on all forms of sales floors, including department stores, airplanes, hotels, restaurants and bars…and even your bank and their ATM machines.

Light can be considered a marketing tool, supporting communication strategies, increasing brand identity and contributing, together with an appropriate retail-service-design, to create a unique and memorable shopping experience within a store.

  • And Weiner reminds us that energy is everywhere. Perhaps that mood enhancing lighting we spoke of will one day soon be powered by not only our customers walking through our hallways and dancing on our dance floors, but also our beating hearts and even our thoughts.

My 2 cents worth

I believe ‘Omni-channel’ are the two new buzzwords in retail.  This is where retailers reach consumers on their multiple channels with obvious continuity in products, services, prices and promotions, which are all deployed from the same software database.  The retailer’s responsive website design, matches their mobile app’s interactive abilities, which then transfer seamlessly to the whole in-store experience and ultimate offerings.

Now the consumer can experience brand continuity across all of those channels to make more informed choices, as opposed to experiencing just one component of the brand when they visit one of the retailers touch points.  For the retailer, this supply chain software now allows them to track consumer purchasing patterns based on behaviors, to reveal the most relevant needs of the consumer and therefore the best sales outcomes.

4 Things you can do to prep for the future

  1. Consider Virtual Sales Associates
  2. Implement Location-aware technology – Use devices that can actively or passively detect location and therefore track interests, behaviors and habits
  3. Go mobile so you can mobilize the in-store experience – Retailers must find ways to lure their customers into the store from their online and mobile sites in order to uphold customer engagement and to better understand their connected consumer
  4. Take your endless assortment of inventory down to smaller boxes and fewer skews.




About Leslie

Spas2b Inc. is a full service Spa Development company, specializing in Online Spa Management Distance Learning Courses, Spa Business Manual Instant Downloads & Resources, and Spa Consulting Services.
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