That is the view of Steve Hughes, head of sensory marketing firm Mood Media Australia, who says that technologies are now cost-effective enough for retailers of virtually any size to make the shopping experience more fun and interactive for their customers.
“It's becoming more difficult to differentiate yourself in the marketplace,” explains Steve while speaking on the My Business Podcast.
“Becoming and selling your brand is probably one of the most important things I think that the retailers and businesses themselves now need to really identify their brand and customers and connect with their customers as much as possible.”
Steve suggests that while retailers and businesses in general are gradually cottoning onto this point, they could be faster on the uptake and implementation of such strategies.
“I think the use of technology and the mobile marketing applications that exist could be more heavily used in-store. I think there's still somewhere to go for retailers to fully grasp what they're trying to do in the store in that space,” he says.
“There could be certainly a fear of potential costs, and sometimes something new is actually more costly than if it's obviously not new because new invariably means that some RND that's being paid for along the way. Having said that, a lot of the technologies that exist there are not actually that expensive to employ.”
On a larger scale, Steve points to the Myer Christmas Giftorium in its Sydney CBD store as a perfect example of trialling new ways to engage with customers.
It took the normal Christmas festivities up a notch by centrally locating them within the store, and adding a more traditional-style Christmas markets vibe with product stalls, gift-wrapping and so on.
“You get into the lift and you're taken up in a spaceship across the Sydney sort of skyline, as it were, and you come out and there was a lot of energy up with all the Christmas time [wares] and large, huge toys and music, and a bit of live entertainment going on,” he says.
“I thought that was a really good, fun thing to do, and it captured the imagination of a lot of people. Obviously, Christmas is a great time to do that.”