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Sam Langley-Swain, Strategy Director

In our first post, we explored the changes in the consumer electronics market from the perspective of the physical products. In this post, we look at how the retail environment has changed (and continues to do so) with the evolution of mobile social and online channels. Brands and retailers who are staying ahead of the curve and seeing their channels as one rather than separate are succeeding.

Multichannel Learnings

The consumer electronics market is (like every other) learning from the consumer purchase journey and becoming a multichannel experience. Many consumers still prefer to buy in-store but perceive they might pay too much while other consumers are price shoppers who just buy online. It is this dichotomy of customers where the opportunities lie to provide different value exchanges to drive loyalty and purchases.

Owning Customer Service

To succeed in the competitive market space brands and retailers must invest in customer service. Some retailers train employees for two to four weeks before they go on the sales floor. Once they are fully trained, they can provide expert advice and education during the sales process that is valuable even to those with high levels of technology knowledge. Customers may even be prepared to pay a small premium for this value-added interaction.

Brands should create services they can own and be known for.

Hands-On

Despite the rapid growth of online retail that critics thought would bring about the death of the bricks and mortar store consumers still have a preference to see touch and feel products in person. As humans, we make decisions about purchases through multiple sources and physical, sensory experiences so merchandising and displaying the latest technology in engaging and accessible ways will allow for easy decision-making.

Google has opened its first physical retail outlet in an attempt to give consumers a chance to get hands-on with Google Chromebooks in a real-world retail environment. The Chrome Zone is open colourful and user-friendly, and there are seating areas for testing products in comfort. Consumers can interact with the devices, and there are trained experts on hand to offer guidance and advice.

Google physical store

New Channels & Formats

To make consumer tech more accessible brands are adopting new channels and routes to market to reach consumers. Some brands are moving away from traditional ‘electronics’ retailers and using ‘new’ retailers e.g. multi-brand retailer Very to reach new audiences. Tech brands are also trialling pop-up stores to allow consumers to interact with products in a way they may not have done before while raising brand awareness.

Urbanears box park pop up store

Urbanears launched their first pop-up shop at Boxpark. Designed as the primary feature of the store, the inner wall of is a backlit perspex frame illuminated by LED lights that respond to sounds in the shop and shifts between the seasonal colour palettes of the Urbanears headphones. The translucent back wall also changes colour in response to the noise made by shoppers. The store focuses on the contrast between the colourful products and a monochromatic white interior. At night, the shop becomes a colourful beacon for the party-goers and visitors of Shoreditch and Brick Lane.

Interactive & Immersive Experiences

Brands and retailers should deliver immersive and interactive experiences in their stores and retail environments. Consumer tech is often an investment for consumers so many will want to check that it will meet their needs. Experiences in-store should inspire consumers and make them feel like they are part of that brand.

Eagle phone store

The Eagle Mobile in Tirana flagship store design features an eclectic combination of materials. Wood brushed metal polished concrete as well as oversized subway tiles and custom lighting all add to the design. The rooms are more delineated creating an intimate experience that showcases the product and brand. Elements such as 15-foot ceilings and a 13-foot video wall add dramatic impact. All of these elements combine to deliver a total brand experience.

Summary

The consumer electronics market is changing rapidly and the purchase journey for this sector continues to evolve as brand’s multichannel strategies adapt to meet these needs. Brands must deliver engaging and innovative experiences to match the nature of their products.