Is the connected consumer getting overloaded?
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This column was contributed by Frank Mayer and Associates
Last month, a common theme ran through both the International Consumer Electronics Show and the National Retail Federation's annual event — technology is in the driver's seat.
We're the culture of the connected. A whopping 77 percent of Americans now own a smart phone, while 79 percent own a smart home device. This means the majority of us have grown accustomed to a full-time personal assistant who not only reorders the paper towels, but can also provide good references when we're contemplating the space-time continuum.
This societal shift toward expecting instant information and ease from our brands has been well-documented lately, and those businesses and retailers who have embraced this way of connecting have shown success in the new retail landscape. Look around, and you'll find more companies offering Instagram-able shopping experiences, hyper-personalized product suggestions, and frictionless checkout capabilities.
But with this new clarity of how shoppers want to receive information comes a new question — is our valued consumer undergoing information overload?
With the speed of new electronics and smart home products hitting the market, it's easy to assume these advances are causing confusion for customers who are busy deciphering how something works and why it's needed to enhance their lives.
It's been argued that the average person is exposed to nearly 5,000 brand messages a day. It's no wonder this abundance of communication has caused tunnel vision in our weary shopper who has reached the point of saturation as his retail aisles have become cluttered with marketing.
So how do brands cut through the commotion and deliver an easily navigable message about their products? Smart in-store merchandising is your answer.
Like those same businesses and retailers shifting their marketing tactics to keep ahead of the technological curve, the industry of in-store merchandising has experienced its own progression.
Static displays are being reimagined to include video loops, audio features and interactive functions. Interactive kiosks have revolutionized the definition of service. More and more, these "Display 2.0s" not only sell your product, but communicate in this new language of which connected customers are now fluent.
A merchandising display company's ultimate responsibility is to help a client educate the consumer and cultivate brand familiarity by creating an environment that leads the shopper through the desired path of awareness, trial, purchase and loyalty.
Correct merchandising needs to separate itself from the excess messaging bombarding that fatigued shopper we profiled, and a skilled point of purchase display provider can offer the strategies to instill this clarity and allow the merchandise to be a beacon to the target buyer.
In short, by using effective merchandising, your brand can disrupt a shopper's path and deliver a concise message about your product in a way that resonates with the modern consumer. And with the rapid pace of smart products available to the public, it's vital to ensure your communication is heard above the rest.
Companies: Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc.