Experiential Trend Predictions for 2016: The Business of Marketing

This is the second in a series on experiential marketing trends with predictions from some of Group Delphi’s innovators on the front lines. The first focused on sweeping marketing trends for the year ahead.

Shannon Densmore, Group Delphi executive producer of Digital Content; Chris Radovich, senior creative director; and Dave Herrigel, senior account director, make these predictions for experiential marketing in the retail environment:

· VIRTUAL REALITY/MOBILE INTEGRATION – Virtual reality makes it possible to transform the way we perceive things with digitally-generated layers of imagery into the real world, enhancing a specific reality. For example, brands can show images of a new line of sportswear as a teenager walks through a shopping mall or a jewelry brand can allow customers to “try on” accessories for purchase in store — all directly appealing to our subconscious in a dynamic and intense way. Imagine shopping in a store for shirts or shoes and you want to access content about the availability of a product, other color choices, user reviews, pricing and more. Similar to the content you might find on Amazon, the integration of augmented reality and smarter mobile technology will allow you to point your smartphone at the retail display for such content at your fingertips and a more personal hands-on experience with the brand.

· STORE WITHIN A STORE – Brands like Google and Apple are creating physical properties within bigger stores such as Best Buy or Harrods. This allows them to build their brands with exacting standards that they can control. Forrester Research’s Sucharita Mulpuru says that if a store within a store is done well, the host retailer gets to enjoy a boost in foot traffic (and sales) without the legwork involved. In addition, the retailer no longer has the burden of managing inventory and the appearance of the display because they play the role of ‘landlord of sorts’ for the boutique. When successful, a store within a store also will improve the appeal of both brands among consumers and other businesses alike, giving retailers a big reason to smile.

· TRACKING CONSUMER MOVEMENTS IN A RETAIL SPACE – Security cameras or Kinect cameras mounted on the ceiling are now being used for traffic pattern recognition to track shapes, aggregate data and create image-based tracking that reveals which displays are getting the most traffic by shoppers. Another way retailers are zeroing in on the customer is through facial recognition. NEC Corporation of America with its Kinect for Windows “smart shelf” application tailors a message on its digital signage to fit the shopper. By tracking faces, cameras and computers can even be programmed to identify gender, ethnicity (based on facial features such as high cheekbones and eyebrow placement, noses or skin tone) and level of engagement. With the ability to gauge how point-of-purchase decisions are made, marketers can glean valuable business intelligence for their future campaigns.

· WEARABLE WRISTBANDS/MOBILE INTEGRATION – At Coachella, wristband activation is the order of the day. In Jakarta, passengers can travel efficiently on a rail network with embedded wristbands and mobile phone service. Watch for more of this trend to bleed into other areas, including wearable wristbands at events and concerts.

Check back for more 2016 predictions and trends in the coming weeks!

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