Bringing people and tech together to deliver moments of delight
To me moments of delight are when an experience surpasses your expectations and leaves you with a strong, positive emotion about the brand. This is often hard to achieve and extremely difficult to achieve consistently.
The best experiences come from connecting skilled people with seamless tech, but it is not easy and the pace of change is rapid. Your people are vital to sustaining an emotional connection, especially when things go wrong and in my opinion, there is nothing worse than trying to resolve a problem via a computer or automated system. It is slow, unresponsive and impersonal. Recent tech successes such as ApplePay and contactless, are functionally driven and make our lives easier or faster, but technology will only take you so far in terms of customer experience and it is very difficult for a brand to own. The best retailers manage to connect well trained people with tech and Apple is the obvious example here, where people and tech are intrinsically linked to have a huge positive impact on the brand.
These emotional and functional connections fall into three broad buckets.
People + Data – the ability to personalise the product/service offered through acquired data
People + Hardware – the ability complement the existing experience by using a digital device
People + Omnichannel – the ability to be connected and present through the entire experience if required
All of these connections mean that people have to become experts, not only in their own fields, but also with the tech around them. The pace of change in retail means that businesses have to invest in rapid, continuous learning to deliver moments of delight.
So what could the future look like?
Moving into the future the lines will blur even more, but there will still be distinct difference between the functional benefits that tech provide and the emotional connections of people.
"Retail in 2025 will be all about multi-sensory social sanctuaries. Digital will be able to give us convenience through rapid delivery and immersion through VR so retail spaces will be the place to go for physical, face to face interactions that either excite or relax"
Sam Langley Swain, Green Room Design