Samsung KX: Physical retail is heading towards experiences

Physical becoming experiential, customers becoming experience ambassadors. Welcome to the retail sector in 2019.
14 August 2019

While all retailers pay lip service to the importance of customer experience and engagement, most are struggling to meet the expectations of today’s ‘on-my-terms’ shoppers.

These connected consumers know that thanks to the rise of e-commerce, they are firmly in the driving seat.

With all our shopping demands available at a click, it’s not enough to coast by on past glories or offer cheap prices anymore. The experience has become one of the most important elements of today’s omnichannel retail environment. Research, for instance, shows that 67 percent of consumers would pay more for a great experience.

It’s time for retailers to look with fresh eyes at how they can stay relevant and thrive in a world that’s more complex than ever. They would do well look to China in this regard and programs like Refinity. This is a new sensory experience which employs mixed reality and autostereoscopic objects, driven by ultra-haptic displays. Consumers can get a 3D view of products and virtually touch, feel, and even smell them.

Experiencing retail?

To quote Garrett Page, Head of Operations, Samsung KX, retail is not dead. Rather, it is going through a period of incredible reinvention.

He made the comment as Samsung opened the doors to Samsung KX, its new experience space in King’s Cross (London) which showcases what the company believes to be the future of retail. This lets people interact with the latest emerging technologies, attend events and showcases, and learn new skills (including cookery schools, Instagram seminars, yoga classes, and mixology sessions).

“Unlike traditional stores where staff are trained to sell a specific product, the Samsung KX team members are customer experience ambassadors, who have had extensive training to bring our expansive portfolio of products to life in a meaningful way,” Page commented.

“We have a clear identity, focus, and purpose for KX– perfectly embodied by our staff, who are encouraged to focus more on showing their personalities, rather than selling products– and we’re doing this because we’re confident that we’ve cracked what makes retail great.”

Digital cockpit and SamsungKX

Digital cockpit and Samsung KX. Source: Samsung

London calling

Earlier this year, Transport for London (TfL) launched a competition aiming to find an innovative concept that reimagines the use of physical retail space for those who travel via its network.

It has now shortlisted 10 concepts, a number of which are experience-centric. For instance, MakersCAFE: A place where people can ‘make’ things by using such technologies as 3D printing and laser-cutting, while also being in a social interactive cafe environment.

Petit Pli: An experiential shop, working research lab and interactive exhibition for their company, which designs clothes that grow through seven different sizes, fitting children between nine months and four years.

Popertee: Go-London powered by Popertee will enable international brands to create an experiential retail presence for the first time in the UK across TfL’s estate. The permanent pop-up space will be powered by data, enabling smarter measurement of the campaign.

It’s clear that the future of retail is a seamless digital and physical experience, with the latter coming alive via innovative technologies and stores that are about much more than selling products.