Weaponizing Product Display

A tech report from CES for brands and retailers

Alasdair Lennox, Executive Creative Director at FITCH

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Samsung Sero TV at CES 2020

We started the new decade at CES in Las Vegas, where the latest innovation in technology was launched on a global stage. Our FITCH team analyzed all the new products and services, and specifically how their unique stories were told through displays and immersive experiences with simplified, human storytelling. We did this because our clients are constantly challenging us to create new ways to present their innovations in commercial retail.

The category convention is that the product story is told through communication around the physical product, however, the macro trend we uncovered was that these products are now telling their own stories with the absence of communication surrounding them.

We also need to explain technology in a way that consumers understand. If you stop the average person on the street and ask them to explain 5G they will likely have no idea what to say. But, if we simplify it and show consumers how this tech fits in to their lifestyle it becomes more real.

Here are 5 trends we saw at CES that introduced technology with high visual impact and strong social currency.

1. Dynamic Shape Shifting

Samsung Sero televisions have the ability to turn from horizontal, the standard viewing position, to the new portrait position, so to watch social content in the vertical position. Samsung’s choreographed display with vivid motion content and messaging, dynamically demonstrates the new rotating feature.

LG’s Signautre OLED TV

LG’s Signature OLED TV is a rollable screen that dramatically winds back into its own storage cabinet. Multiple products together create drama when choreographed to create a closed to open view through space.

Insight: We live on social media, so technology needs to adapt to where we view the most content. Many of us capturing the world in portrait mode now (as seen in the clip above).

2. Naked Truth

To expose small, however, significant innovation under the hood, auto brands created powerful product demonstrations by presenting the vehicle fully transparent. Original equipment manufacturer ZF, utilized this tactic to explain its micro sensor components by making them fully visible and contextualized.

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Insight: Making the product transparent or ‘naked’ is a smart learning for any ‘ingredient brand’ where you want the consumer to really understand what is “under the hood.”

3. Conversational Retail

Google Assistant literally talks its way through an interactive product demonstration. A simple call to action triggers a very real domestic scenario which has a magic moment when it switches on a IOT cooling fan itself. Play film with volume up.

Insight: This year, 50% of all searches across the internet will be voice-based. (Quoracreative, 2019), so we need tap into creating verbal conversations with technology at retail.

4. Projected Stories

Pico Technologies have developed a ’domestic sized stand lamp’ that projects an interactive story over, and surrounding, the physical product on display.

Insight: Projection surface mapping unlocks the opportunity to use the product as the canvas for interactive storytelling. It keeps the shoppers eyes looking directly at the product.

5. Reactive Personalization

Many of the tech brands utilized a variety of real-time body scanners with large screens to demonstrate either their LIDAR technology or the body size / shape scanning tools. More than just a physical measuring tool, sensors can now analyze emotions, muscle burn and movement. Here the Panasonic Yoga Synchro Visualizer gives realtime data visualization.

Delta Airlines introduced the idea of ‘mass hyper-personalized signage,’ designed to make airport travelers’ lives easier with individual messaging.

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This ‘under development technology’ has the ability to turn large, mass message LED information screens in airport terminals into singular, personalized messages to each Delta traveler.

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Insight: How could this technology be applied to a large, complex multi-brand store to help a shopper navigate to their desired brand?

Conclusion: There are two things happening simultaneously, we are swiftly moving to a completely paperless retail environment and with the increasing costs of real estate, the merchandise will need to both speak and sell itself.

By weaponizing our products we can achieve both highly experiential and commercial retail solutions.

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And if nothing else… make the demonstration fun! See you at CES 2021.

Written by

FITCH is a global design consultancy. Designing the Future. Online, offline and in person.

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