Microsoft opened a five-story new flagship store in New York City in October, their largest store yet. Their goal was to get consumers to sit, stay, and try out the devices — According to WIRED, “None
of the devices are tethered to the tables, so you can pick up laptops or phones to get a better feel for them. Upstairs, there’s a station where you can play Xbox games. Downstairs, the store’s designers placed stools beside the knolled tables to encourage visitors to plop down and get to work. Wood tables and wood floors give the store some warmth.” Alibaba and Uber set up “mobile” dressing rooms to promote Alibaba’s retail marketplace.
A year of surging mobile shopping was complemented by huge investment in brick and mortar and even more, in delivery. Turning to Amazon once again, their latest disruption has come as it continues to grapple with delivery solutions. Amazon is turning its gaze from the heavens and drones back down to earth, buying a fleet of trucks that have thus far mainly disrupted traffic, with epic gridlock keeping school buses and commuters trapped in their neighborhoods as the fleet tries to keep up with holiday demand. But despite this bump in the road, they have high hopes to build on their consistent promise of instant gratification. As I said last year, Digital is Everything — but not everything is digital.
TARGET invested in improving their instore services with the addition of a Beauty Concierge and Baby Advisor services, highly-trained experts to answer questions and provide personalized service in addition to “Digital service Ambassadors” who will help customers learn to use Target’s mobile app.
So what’s on tap for 2016? Here’s what I think.And let’s not forget about the supreme “digital” disruptor, Amazon, who this year disrupted itself opening a bookstore. “The retailer, which is spending billions to refine and speed up home delivery, suggested that some people would come to the store to look at the books and then go home and order them online,” according to The New York Times.
I also predict that TV will finally stop being a dirty word. And with companies like VICE (the bad
boys of digital news and content) investing in TV and launching channels with Disney and A&E, and Netflix doubling its production we will stop arguing about whether TV exists or not and start focusing on how brands can better use the fabulous assets that are available to us.
And finally speaking of dirty words, there will be even more angst around advertising. The real question is, if you can buy or borrow the content, how do you get noticed? Marketers who understand that “people
first,” experience, connection and value drive brands and brand equity, great things are possible.
How many times are we going to be “surprised” by data blips — the surprise election results, sales surges, box office sleepers — before we realize that our blind devotion to big data is in need of a check. My prediction is that marketers who have been enamored with big data will start valuing primal data, the small personal data points that tell a more meaningful story.
I promise to be just as hard on myself next year when I look back.
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