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HP’s Stephanie Dismore To Dealers: How To Re-Store Retail

Customer engagement is the order of the day

Returning to the stage at New Age Electronics’ annual Retail Dealer Summit this week was Stephanie Dismore of HP, who offered hope, and help, to battle-scarred retailers.

“Retail is very much not dead,” the computing giant’s VP/general manager reminded attendees. On the contrary, she said, it has actually grown, with more stores standing today than in recent years.

“But is it disrupted? Yes. Do you need to do business in new ways? Yes.”

See: Capitalize On Disruptive Forces

The new approach, she stressed, is experiential retail, vs. “boring” traditional shopping. A prime example is Toys“R”Us and Legoland. While the former has closed shop, the latter promises that “Awesome awaits!”, and remains a thriving, high-margin business with fun displays and plenty of hands-on product that kids are encouraged to try.

Showrooms can also serve as community centers of sorts, where customers could attend how-to sessions and local clubs can hold meetings, Dismore said.

She implored retailers to further engage with customers through social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest, where they can create emotional connections with consumers by interweaving marketing messages into images, videos and lifestyle tips.

“You’ve got to go where the consumers are,” she said, as HP did with its participation in the Coachella and SXSW music and media festivals.

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HP can also provide retailers with showroom enhancements to make the shopping experience more memorable.

“Retail is thriving, but it’s a different kind of retail,” she reminded the crowd.

Continuing the theme, former P&G think-tank chief Dustin Garis delivered a New Age Summit keynote in which he instructed attendees to energize their businesses, and their own lives, by changing up daily routines to create memorable moments. Based on research conducted for his innovation team at P&G FutureWorks, Garis found that even small changes can make the workaday world more memorable, and can help brands stand out from the pack.

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For individuals, that can mean taking a different route home from work, or having something totally different for lunch. On the enterprise level, McDonald’s broke with routine in a big way three years ago by accepting hugs and other acts of kindness as payment in select stores.

Garis also cited at least one company that is experimenting with paid paid vacations, in which employees are given a stipend to take time off.

“Eighty percent of millennials and Gen Z value experiences over stuff,” Garis noted. “Routine is the enemy of innovation.”

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