The digital age has created a strange paradox. On the one hand, thanks to social media and communication apps such as WhatsApp and Snapchat, we are more connected than ever in real time and over global distances. On the other hand, technological advances mean that we’re getting closer and closer to a reality where we might never have to engage with another human being, face-to-face, ever again.
Amazon recently announced that they would be opening their first grocery store in Seattle, Washington, USA in early 2017. A store with no cashiers and no checkout lines, and no employees other than shelf stockers. If it works, it could well change the face of consumer marketing and in-store promotions as we know it.
Through an entire automated process, shoppers will be able to register that they are in the store via an app called Amazon Go, walk around, pick up items they want and pay automatically online. Thanks to advanced technology such as sensors, computer vision and deep learning, each item chosen by a customer will be added instantly to their bill and removed should they put anything back on the shelf.
The concept is an amazing feat of technological advancement, and certainly sounds like science fiction made reality. However, there have already been concerns voiced on social media about what this means for employment in the USA where roughly 3.4 million people are employed as cashiers. What’s more, if this is the first step towards a future of total computer operated shopping experiences, what does it mean for marketing campaigns that are driven by people?
Does this mean the death of experiential marketing?
Not necessarily. As time has progressed, marketers have always been faced with the challenges of changing technology and human perceptions to it. The advent of social media applications and their success shows that although people enjoy using technology that makes their lives easier, the human connection continues to be more important than ever – even if it is not face-to-face.
New technology means new marketing challenges
Challenges presented by advancing technology can result in exciting new solutions for experiential marketing. Recently, virtual reality technology has opened doors for marketing that allows for a truly immersive brand experience for consumers and is especially successful in promoting brands where no tangible product is involved. Campaigns promoted through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that connect consumers to a brand in an exclusive online environment are excellent in creating brand awareness.
As much as marketing strategy is moving towards being fuelled by technology and although brand activations and in-store promotions may soon be conducted solely in a digital arena, people are still people. As stated previously, history proves that despite changing circumstances, humans crave connection. And it is creating engagement through that connection, no matter what the medium, that will ensure successful experiential marketing in a technology driven future.
Tradeway offers a variety of experiential marketing services including in-store promotions and brand activations. For further information, contact Tradeway today.