In Las Vegas, what you see is not necessarily what you get. Whether it’s the gambler, the convention goer or the restaurant in the casino there is often a hidden agenda or a disguise. Las Vegas is a playground and a stage, a liminal space writ large.
The events Global Shop is no exception. Across the myriad vendor displays and supplier innovations, everything from virtual greeters to flashing window signs were being portrayed as the next big thing in shopper marketing. But much of what can be experienced was nothing more than an elaborate mirage. Great care was taken by manufacturers of displays for retailers to explain how their pegboard would increase sales and stop the shopper in his or her tracks. The newest LED decal would of course change the way people experience the retailer’s store front. The problem is that while all of the solutions and widgets being touted as the next great think were marvelous in terms of engineering and technological innovation, they had very little to do with the customer experience.
However, there were some that were more than technological and manufacturing marvels. These displays and designs tapped into the simple insight that shopping is about more than getting “stuff.” They played to the notion that if you can get the shopper to engage, whether it be to stop and explore the space or to actually touch products, then you have a better chance of converting them into buyers. These displays created a sense of belonging, or interest, of fun. They spoke to the idea that a retail location is more than a series of objects, it is a destination, a place that infuses goods with the mystery and pleasure of exploration. They provide shoppers with a sense of Place.
The universal truth, though, is this: great ideas win. The company that was making elaborate displays from shredded, recycled paper? Brilliant – eye-catching, beautiful, enticing. The Mexican furniture and fixture company that was using synthetic materials to make more durable display pieces reminiscent of Rococo art? Awesome – colorful, inviting, whimsical. All great ideas that used innovative techniques to create something special, and all based on really solid thinking.