What is happening around me? Am I diving into the deep end when it comes to technology? Do I invest in digital or physical solutions? I opened the first edition of House of Retail, the Netherlands’ new live retail platform, with these questions. Almost 100 retail professionals gathered in First Impression’s renovated experience centre where they were then presented with three top speakers from the industry.
On the day before Black Friday, First Impression’s revamped experience centre was the setting for House of Retail. The event was created to bring the worlds of digital and physical retail even closer together. Challenges and experiences were shared and guests visibly enjoyed the interactive, visual installations and content. After all guests completed the tour of the 1,000-square-metre experience centre, they were welcomed into the studio for the plenary sessions.
Tech should not feel like tech
The feeling that prevailed after the tour of the experience centre was that the crisis has really proved to be an engine for innovation. Our attention is constantly on the developments happening around us, so that we are ready for what comes tomorrow. For instance, we see that the need for personal contact has become even stronger. Consequently, the biggest changes within First Impression’s experience centre have been built around personal contact. The technology that has been developed and applied revolves entirely around people and the interactivity that is so much needed. In doing so, it is important that precisely this technology does not feel like technology to the customer.
Customers have always needed interactivity. That need has only increased over the years. People want to be entertained, see, feel and smell products and interact with them in surprising ways. Above all, they want to share these moments with others. House of Retail’s three speakers, all from completely different backgrounds, told their own stories about interactivity. Andy Haywood, head of global sales at Samsung, kicked off with some great examples of interactivity in shop windows and in-store displays. He explained that Lego has a play experience rather than a shopping experience. By making the installations hyper-interactive, Lego aims to make children and their parents smile more, which boosts sales. Retail and entertainment merge into retailtainment.