Samsung’s new pop-up solution, Connected Spaces, promises a revolution in temporary retail. It will mean pop-up premises can provide the kind of technology, connectivity and digital shopping experience that customers have come to expect from online retail. Moreover, it will shine a light on one of the last remaining corners of data darkness and make pop-up a far more useful and versatile tool for retailers themselves.
The thinking behind Connected Spaces is very much in line with the theme of the 2018 National Retail Forum, the biggest retail show in the world. This year’s focus is “The Power Of Disruption,” which will highlight the ongoing concerns many traditional retailers have about their vulnerability to online competition. It will also reflect the need for online retailers to keep moving in order to stay relevant. Even Amazon needs to worry about the next Amazon.
Disruption is also why pop-ups have become so important. Over the past few years these temporary retail premises have become one of the best-known ways to bridge the brick and mortar/online divide. They allow retailers to connect directly with customers in a way that feels spontaneous, authentic and fun. Pop-ups started with small businesses like restaurants and vintage fashion stores but have now been embraced by multinational giants ranging from Google to McDonald’s. Here they have also found an important role as a way of testing new concepts without the expense of fitting out whole new stores.
However, this is where these temporary retail locations can run into trouble.
If you’re running an artisan burger stand where you rely on footfall and most of your customers are one-offs, you can get away with a minimum of technology. Indeed, although many SMB pop-ups are impressively high-tech, for others a low-tech approach might even be viewed as part of the experience.
But if you’re a major brand, it’s not so easy. With big name retail, customers have expectations that are informed by their online experiences. They increasingly expect the personalization that they get online even when they’re shopping offline. They want physical retail to offer the sort of rich, custom experience they get when buying on their mobile devices.
This is easy to replicate in a brick and mortar store, because it’s permanent and you can take your time getting it right; however, it is very expensive. With a pop-up, you have the opposite situation: temporary retail is cheap, but its very nature means the tech is more difficult. This matters because every customer experience matters. According to research by Samsung, 89 percent of retailers say that how they handle customer interactions is the way to stand out.
At NRF 2018, Samsung will be focusing on Connected Spaces. This solution will allow pop-ups to deliver the kind of data-driven shopping experiences customers now demand and retailers want to deliver. Moreover, the modular design of Connected Spaces allows for the rapid deployment of brick and mortar-quality digital retail in premises that may only last a few days.
Connected Spaces also addresses a number of key industry issues. First, it provides real-time data and analytics to retailers on the movement and type of customers in the store. Second, the “Retail as a Service” model allows businesses to select standard “shop” modules and rent them by the week.
Third, it lets retailers personalize in-store consumer messaging based on behavioral analytics. The analytics dashboard allows retailers to see customer numbers, demographics, heat maps and behavior, even down to where shoppers might pause for a few seconds. These insights allow for data-based decision-making on everything from staffing levels to fixture positions.
Finally, Connected Spaces is highly secure and uses defense-grade Samsung Knox technology.
This kind of data-driven spontaneity will be crucial to the future of pop-ups, which are crucial to the future of retail. In fact, according to the industry database PopUp Republic, spontaneous, short-term retail events are now driving a $50bn/year industry.
If you want to find out more about Samsung at NRF, please visit: samsung.com/nrf.