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From Point of Sale to Point of Experience

Dec 14, 2017

The future of the retail trade is digital – among other things! There is a demand for convenience. But whereas nowadays we can find convenience on the web in the form of search engines, diversity and delivery speed, the potential of tomorrow’s convenience will be far more dynamic and will be found in high street shops.

Visualisation of the check-in zone at the Ambiente special presentation Point of Experience
Visualisation of the check-in zone at the Ambiente special presentation Point of Experience

The success of a retail store has always lived on unique selling points. To stand out from the crowd, an individual retailer needs to offer something that others can’t match. Right now this is an area where online trading can capitalise on several strengths because consumers are largely seeking convenience. However, consumers also have other important needs: entertainment, discovery and personal contact. This won’t change the digital evolution. On the contrary, it will accelerate it. Quite probably, though, it will have its impact on high street retailers. Why?

Seeing, smelling, touching – when consumers find products in shops and boutiques without having looked for them, then those products have their own way of drawing attention. This is certainly true if they are well presented, if the target group can relate to them directly or if they can be associated with some topical subject. Such goals, too, can be achieved by digital means.

Running from 9 to 13 February 2018, the Ambiente special show From Point of Sale to Point of Experience will answer the questions “How can products be presented in the digital age?”, “What digital applications are there with relevance to high street retailers?” and “What will the future of shopping look like?”. The presentation (in the foyer of hall 4.1) will show that the key to the answer is a symbiosis of digital and analogue activities.

“The shop concept of the future will create combinations between different interests and will continually generate new stimuli – ideally in real-time,” says Wolfgang Gruschwitz, Managing Director of the design and realisation studio Gruschwitz GmbH. “It’s a matter of drawing attention and building a robust relationship with the consumer through emotive content.” To do so, the traditional Munich-based company is setting up the Ambiente special exhibition as an entire shop, under the short title PoE – Point of Experience. Retailers themselves become consumers here.

Prominently projected onto semitransparent glass, a weather report is presented to visitors before they even enter the shop. It provides a glimpse of the future while also offering suitable products. Depending on the forecast, such products may be sunglasses, hats, umbrellas or waterproof jackets. Approaching from outside, the visitor can also see a second projection, showing consumers’ product ratings.

The visitor then reaches the check-in zone where a variety of specially promoted products are demonstrated through video clips on several monitors. The entrance area also has an event zone which can operate live and attract potential customers with food, music or test campaigns.

Passing a traditional corner shop, the visitor is taken to a culinary retro sales area and a Wishing Table. This is an interactive shelf which invites the customer to take a close look and which is – literally – tangible, i.e. the items can be touched. Visitors are invited to inspect vases, plates, serviettes, etc. at close quarters, and detailed product information is presented as soon as the relevant item is placed on the table. A computer recognises this item automatically and projects all the details onto the table top. Entire dinner arrangements can be virtually placed on this table in this way. In the meantime a vital ambience is created by various monitors installed in the form of ceiling panels. They create the impression of moving through a forest or looking up the façades of some gigantic skyscrapers.

Next, the visitor moves past a digital rating system on the product of the month, a high-resolution 360-degree product cabin, an augmented reality wedding table and an area for customisable products and eventually reaches the log-out zone. At this point the customer can decide between a variety of payment methods – in cash, via a shop-owned tablet, with their smartphone or via Grab & Go. Prices, incidentally, can be dynamically adjusted with the help of digitally scalable labels, to suit the time of day or the demand situation.

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