Source: NYTimes, Mar 2012
But instead of getting defensive, some stores and brands are embracing the change by creating new personal touches that feature gadgets rather than doting sales staff. Bobbi Brown has touch-screen televisions to demonstrate the perfect smoky eye, something that was once the exclusive domain of makeup artists. LeBron James’s shoe store in Miami has 50 iPads to describe its merchandise.
Companies are adding the technology now because it has gotten cheap enough to make it feasible and because Apple and other tablet and touch-screen makers are increasing their sales efforts. Stores also don’t want to risk losing those customers who are not content shopping from home but nonetheless prefer Pinterest recommendations, Zappos reviews and Fashism feedback to interacting with someone behind the counter.
“There’s a tendency to believe that if you talk to somebody, they’re going to waste your time or sell you something you don’t need,” said Ricardo Quintero, global general manager of market development for Clinique, which uses touch screens at its counters. “It’s taking the pressure off.”
“How the customer is defining service and wants service to be delivered is changing pretty rapidly, and a lot of that is driven by technology,” said Erik Nordstrom, president of stores for Nordstrom. “A lot of customers like to touch and feel and try on the merchandise, but they also want that information that they get online.”
“It’s fun to see things in person, and touch the fabrics, and try on shoes,” she said. “It’s a social experience.”