January is over, and so concludes two of the biggest trade events of the year. It seems strange that we’re only one-twelfth of the way through 2018, yet between them, The NRF- Retail Big Show in Manhattan and ISPO in Munich have set the tone for everything to expect in Sport and Outdoor retail this year.
By showcasing of some of the most innovative and exciting product and retail technology available, these exhibitions serve up huge amounts of information to digest. Luckily for you, we have selected the tastiest bits.
Our 3 Key Takeaways from ISPO 2018
The Challenge to Measure the ROI of Training Continues
Creating brand loyalty and delivering emotionally engaging stories to the consumer are still a huge challenge for retail. The fact that it is still such a hot topic is testament to how complex it can be to drive these messages through brick and mortar via sales associates.
From visual merchandising to the way that sales associates are talking about products in store– The need to control and maintain accuracy and value all the way down the knowledge supply chain to the consumer is more crucial now than it has ever has been. Training as always remains the answer here.
No doubt, live training is still an essential tool, but the ability to scale, maintain consistency and measure the results are becoming increasingly important and now receive much greater scrutiny.
With many of the worlds largest brands pushing the technological revolution and distributing training in digital form through software like Myagi, many more are slowly waking up to the reality that online will provide the solution for:
- Wider training distribution
- Greater visibility, accountability, and measurability of activations
- Calculable ROI
- Higher engagement with training
Technology has reached Outdoor & Sport
Whilst many other sectors of the retail world have fully embraced the shift to the digital age, it’s fair to say that Sport and Outdoor retail have been slower to move…until now.
In an industry where in-store and back office tech was once spoken about as a ‘nice to have’, it’s now a ‘must have’ if you are to compete and succeed. The ISPO 2018 ‘Product of The Year’ winner demonstrated this to great effect:
A partnership consisting of Superfeet, HP, RSscan and Brooks Running has produced the ‘’Fit Station’’ that captures dynamic 3D scans of an individual’s foot whilst in store. Taking pressure measurements and gait analysis readings, it identifies a unique motion path then builds a one-of-a-kind kinetic profile for that person. This data is used to create custom products specifically catering for this profile. This is a huge development set to disrupt the way people shop for running shoes and stamp on the toes of the competition. Just one example of the ways technology giants like HP are turning their sights on retail.
Sustainability comes to the forefront
One of the themes brands were promoting very heavily this year was the sustainability of their product ingredients. There is no doubt that the consumer is more socially conscious than ever before. With political and social programmes across the globe focusing more and more on sustainability, future shoppers will continue this trend through demand.
Brands that can showcase their sustainable credentials, and get this message through to sales associates on the shop floor are going to be looked upon favourably for years and even decades to come.
Whilst brands are starting to plant the seed of sustainability in the consumer’s mind, the need to differentiate oneself from the rest of the marketplace is going to be the only way to compete. With the amount of technical and sustainable ingredients making up products, how can brands get all that information to the consumer walking into store?
Empowering sales associates to tell stories can be a great way to bring this technology to life. Brands that are preparing and arming sales associates with all the resources they need to tell stories about their products is an effective way to drive sales and loyalty. Especially when it comes to creating an emotional connection to a product- the environmentally friendly aspects of products lend themselves perfectly to this approach.
The outlook for 2018’s retail space is cautiously optimistic. There is no doubt independents and brick and mortar will continue to struggle against the big online giants, but the more they can adapt to highlight the quirks and interpersonal relationships only available in-store (be that through better training solutions, adopting technology in-store or telling engaging stories about product) the more successes they will see in the year to come.