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Three Ways to Rethink Your Merchandising for 2018

Old school vs. new school. This is a classic push-pull battle in marketing. At Power, we’re constantly helping our clients figure out the right balance between traditional and innovative marketing methods, especially when it comes to merchandising and product selection.

Stick with old traditional tactics, and you could become irrelevant and ineffective. Invest too much too quickly in new technology, and you could waste precious marketing dollars on an ineffective user experience. So what’s the answer?

Something down the middle.

Understanding and acknowledging that your customer base is diverse will help you realize that your marketing efforts should reflect that. Brands that have a variety of marketing and shopping options will ultimately win in 2018. And while it’s never an easy thing to step out of your comfort zone, know that there is always a risk when you shake things up. But, the rewards can be significant.

Here are three things to consider going into the next year to mix up your merchandising efforts:

Virtual Reality

By now, we’ve all heard about it, and maybe you’ve even had a chance to experience it. When VR was just a buzzword, it was hard to imagine its true marketing potential beyond something cool at tradeshows. Now VR is making slow strides into other applications, like room staging and at-home training. When Lowe’s introduced the Holoroom back in 2014, customers were able to visualize rooms in their homes with new finishes and colors. Now they are using this technology to empower customers with DIY skills involving products they can buy at Lowe’s. Genius!

 

Augmented Reality

Leave it to Ikea to do something so cool and simple that it makes you say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” There has been a lot of buzz around augmented reality as our friends at Apple have optimized the newest version of iOS to support AR and AR development. What does it all mean? It means that consumers are going to be more familiar with augmented reality because Apple told us so, and because it’s pretty freaking awesome. Leave understanding the nerdy stuff to people like us. But do check out how using augmented reality can help shoppers plan for space and see products in their actual homes.

 

Tailored Showrooms

There are some truths that will stand the test of time, and seeing is believing in this case. When it comes to putting in a new appliance, changing out a countertop, getting a new toilet, selecting a new faucet, or finally getting those new cabinets, people want to see and feel the product in real life. It’s like shoe shopping online, sometimes you just need to try it on.

While showrooms are definitely an old school tactic, there is a new-school way of doing things. Big brands are tailoring showrooms to match the new needs and expectations of millennials and their influencers (their parents). Kohler leads by example by simply changing some language to be more appealing. Their “Experience Center” gives new shoppers a feel, not just a look. The open layouts invite social shopping (because we millennials can’t do anything alone), and picturesque vignettes make this experience Instagram story-worthy.

Finding Your Remix

So whether you want to update some of your old school tactics, or are ready to make the plunge into some of the new school ways, it’s important to remember they are both necessary evils. As Sarah Reep tells Kitchen & Bath Design News, “Top consumer brands are going all out on showroom technology, especially in flagship stores. They use everything from HD touch-screens to virtual reality for immersive shopping experiences. And it’s not just for show. Technology helps buyers collaborate with showroom staff to custom design products and envision items in the home.” Make sure your brand has the right mix going into the new year, and if you need some guidance, give us a holler and we can help you shuffle your tracks for 2018.

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