Leave tech at the door

For its Retail Special (Issue 112 – April 2018), Monocle’s business editor Matt Alagiah reports on why the ‘human’ component of retail spaces should not live in the shadows of technology. In the article, Visual Thinking founder Karl McKeever speaks out on the importance of applying emotional intelligence rather than the headline-hogging artificial kind.

Karl reflects on his visit to this year’s National Retail Federation Big Show in New York and whether, despite shiny tech promising to offer salvation, augmented-reality mirrors or QR code scanners, gadgets and gizmos truly do deliver more enticing shopping spaces.

Too often the starting point is not a requirement to solve a clearly defined shopper need but the selfish want of retailers to be seen as being on-trend and staying in step with competitors

As Karl argues, the main thing technology affords is convenience but e-commerce players already have that in spades. Offline players have to compete on different metrics: beautiful interiors (not blighted by AR mirrors), enjoyable live events and ever-changing product ranges and layouts. “By all means offer free home delivery once your customers have tried clothes on but don’t let it define your space,” says Karl.

This article was originally published in Monocle Magazine.


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