Thursday, June 16th, 2011
Once a week, the XD team at Fluid New York explores offline experiences outside the confines of our studio. We think it’s important to take a step back from the digital world and approach design holistically, experiencing physical manifestations of brands in person. This week, we walked through New York’s SoHo shopping district to see how branded offline experiences relate back to digital spaces and vice versa.
The borders between physical and digital are further being blurred as traditional brick and mortar retailers are laying stake in the digital space. Mobile computing is nearly ubiquitous and instant access to information is almost at everyone’s fingertips. In addition, the attention span of people have become shorter and this poses a challenge to brands. Brand consistency is key to communicating to your target audience and in today’s fast paced retail environment, there’s no room for error. A marketing message that runs astray can have a huge impact on business.
During our outing, we’ve noticed many retailers doing great things with new technologies and some not so great. There has been a recent trend with stores using tablet computers to allow their consumers to browse through their product catalogue within store. It’s a static and passive experience that most of the time, does not engage the customer. Some of the problems with this technology are:
- The technology does not tell you where to find items in store.
- Proper QA testing of the app wasn’t performed. The app crashed many times while browsing.
- It may not be inline with your brand aesthetic. If your brand has a gritty, industrial feel to it, placing modern, shiny tablets throughout the store takes away from the overall brand experience.
- While the “cool” factor may be there the fact of the matter is that it can alienate the consumer, especially in tablet form.
- You cannot replace good old customer service with shiny tablet device. There is no substitution for face to face human interaction.
- Instead of focusing on the products in the store, your consumers are fixated with trying to figure out how to navigate through a mobile experience.