Published on: July 8, 2010Now available on iTunes…
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Hi, I’m Kevin Coupe, and this is MNB Radio, back from a multi-week hiatus, as always available on iTunes, and sponsored this week by Webstop, experts in the art of retail website design.
While attending the London Summit of the Consumer Goods Forum a couple of weeks ago, one of the things that really intrigued me in the “Innovation Zone” section adjacent to the main auditorium was the L’Oreal booth. Not that I know anything about L’Oreal, nor do I care much about the whole subject of women’s makeup. (I only care when my daughter asks for the credit card so she can go to Sephora or other stores of its ilk. The folks in the L’Oreal booth tried to convince me that makeup for men is the big coming trend, which somehow seems like a story line that people in that business have been peddling for years. I remain unconvinced.)
No, what intrigued me in the L’Oreal booth was a piece of technology. They have this endcap thingamajig that takes the woman’s picture and then allows them to scan any one of their products and show on the picture how it would look in real life. So if the woman wants redder lips or darker eye makeup or blusher cheeks, she can check that out before buying. It actually is pretty cool.
Apparently there are a few retailers that have this contraption, but what isn’t out yet is a similar endcap that allows women to do the same thing with hair coloring products. They get their picture taken, they scan in a product, and see how their hair would look in that shade of whatever. Even guys can use this one...though I wasn’t particularly interested because I figure I’ve earned every one of my gray hairs and don’t need to see what I’d look like without them.
The point here is that while people like me are wowed by these kinds of technologies, it seems pretty clear that people like my daughter will see them with the same kind of awe that I look at a refrigerator or a toaster. Which is to say that they will be completely comfortable with them.
However, this level of acceptance also means that marketers have to start thinking along these lines if they are to appeal to this new generation of shoppers. Because to not offer such technologies as part of the package may mean being viewed as obsolete or irrelevant.
While in London, I saw another example of this kind of technological innovation at the BMW dealership up the street from my hotel, where they had a touch screen computer imbedded in the showroom window so the average passerby could call up various models and check out options, prices and availability. And if you go online, you can see various videos on YouTube where people as young as two and as old as 90 demonstrate a facility with iPad technology.
The bad news, of course, is that the bar keeps getting raised for the “Wow” factor. We all have to work harder to get people’s attention, especially people increasingly hard to dazzle with technological achievement. Doesn’t mean we stop trying, though. Can’t afford to. Because the competition probably won’t.
At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
For MNB Radio, I’m Kevin Coupe.
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