Along with live events, the retail and hospitality sectors have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic conditions, forcing many companies into hibernation and some sadly into closure. However, as society and the economy starts to come back online, what sort of role will AV systems and technologies play in the resurgence of these markets? Lysa Campbell, group CEO, Retail Marketing Group, offers her perspective
Prior to the pandemic, what AV technologies or trends would you say were having the most enabling impact in the retail and hospitality space?
I think Installation itself addressed this quite well pre-pandemic in your June article of 2019 around ‘Stores of the Future’. Larger digital displays married with the potential for real-time information delivery such as price, stock, offers etc, were all technologies we were involved with pre-pandemic as far as solutions for our own clients at Retail Marketing Group. We’ve found that dwell time and thus engagement increases when presented with displays which constantly adapt, and that technology in turn allows for the level of detail in the data usually only reserved for digital platforms. Measuring ROI for our clients becomes much more effective.
Again pre-pandemic, what would you say were the biggest areas of challenge in terms of AV technology/systems development, deployment, or adoption?
Honestly, the education leading to justification of funding is always going to be a challenge when new technologies emerge in any industry. Given the rate of change we’ve seen, particularly at retail even pre-pandemic, a myriad of new AV options made their way to the market so quickly that it was difficult for the wider retail industry to embrace these as quickly as they could have. Allowing for trials, or soft roll-outs that lead to positive ROI measurements, are the kind of initiatives we at Retail Marketing Group try to encourage to keep our clients ahead of the competition and take advantage of technologies as soon as they come to market.
In your view, what have been the biggest effects of the pandemic period on the retail and hospitality space in terms of accelerated technology adoption/deployment, or any other significant areas, and the role of AV technologies in helping these markets come back to life?
It’s really that grey area between online and offline. This grey area is now so large it kind of covers both! We’ve been extremely busy at Retail Marketing Group accelerating a digital transformation which we started way before the pandemic, and we’re very glad we did as it gave us the advantage of a head start. Part of that work has been research which informs the AV technology we choose to adopt, and highlights the technology that we still feel is missing.
Ultimately it comes down to creating the deepest possible connection with consumers, where AV technology subtly enhances experience to elevate commerce above where it’s come from and closer to where it’s going.
What would you say are the AV technologies or trends that are going to have the most profound impact on the retail and hospitality spaces in the coming years, and why?
We’ve embraced AV technologies more than we ever have to develop bespoke ‘digital assisted sales’ solutions for our current and future clients. We’ve seen from our research, and in the real-world implementation of our solutions with clients such as LG, that doing this well can create conversion rates of online demo to sale in excess of 20 per cent and increasing as the implementation cycle unfolds, whilst also achieving similar percentage return on attach to sale. Indeed, building a bespoke showroom for LG involved embracing AV technologies in more of a studio capacity than an in-store capacity, in order to deliver the high quality retail experience consumers are beginning to expect.
The full version of this article is published in the 2021 Pro AV Technology Outlook report from Installation, which is available to download now. Homepage image courtesy of Absen.