Welcome to Retail Week 2018

The customers looked from digital to physical, and from physical to digital, and from digital to physical again: but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Thanks George Orwell for giving us our theme for this year’s retail week. 

Of course, we don’t just mean that retail is going digital.  In many ways, it already has. But the pendulum has started to swing the other way, and if it once looked like every product and service in the world was going to be browsed, chosen, and purchased on a desktop, laptop, or handheld device – and brick and mortar stores converted into museums – think again.

The trend that’s grabbing us at DMN – from live events to the IoT, from AI-powered call centers to experiential marketing – is the colonization of the physical by the digital. In theoretical terms, that means our physical environment becoming infused with data. Interoperability aside (we’re still working on  that one), things will talk to each other, and talk to us. And we’ll talk right back. The connected customer isn’t just the customer at the keyboard, or the customer with the phone in his or her pocket. It’s the free-standing consumer in the voice-responsive, augmented reality-enhanced world of tomorrow.

In practical terms, it means taking everything you’ve learned about digital marketing over the last ten or fifteen years and brainstorming about applying it right where people still want to be (some of the time, anyway). In streets, in stores, in transit, in contact with reality: and yes, even opening and engaging with a personalized direct mail piece.

We’ll kick things off by having out B.C.-based correspondent, David Pring-Mill, swing south of the border for a personal encounter with the amazing Amazon Go store in Seattle. We’ll continue with stories about using data to sell in the micro-moment of intent; how smart inventory management contributes to the customer experience; leveraging AI to sell furnishings; and guarding against social irresponsible algorithms. We’ll also be looking at some specific retailers who have gone “high tech.”

Stay with us for the ride, and get ready to think about marketing to a post-digital/physical world. We won’t call it “the Matrix.” Promise.

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