ORWM '13 Preview: Merchandising for the screen generation

Leading up to Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, SNEWS is previewing new trends and products you’ll see at the trade show in Salt Lake City, Jan. 22-26. Today, we take a look some examples of effective electronic screen merchandising at Outdoor Retailer.
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Leading up to Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, SNEWS is previewing new trends and products you'll see at the trade show in Salt Lake City, Jan. 22-26. Today, we take a look some examples of effective electronic screen merchandising at Outdoor Retailer. All these stories also can be found in the print or digital flipbook edition of our Planning Guide.

Big-screen televisions, iPads, QR codes and digital games — such bells, whistles, screens and lights draw in customers and help sell products. Similarly, technology adds fun and interest to a trade show booth. As merchandising tools, interactive elements add texture to a brand’s story and provide fresh perspective on products. The key, however, is integrating the digital message with its environment.

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Giles Rickett is the creative and marketing director at Pinnacle Exhibits, which has designed numerous Outdoor Retailer booths, including Yakima’s at Summer Market. He told us that while new gadgets are exciting, “Trends are irrelevant unless they support the client’s goal.” Rickett gave an example, saying he likes QR codes used in unexpected ways, perhaps as part of a scavenger hunt.

“It’s not enough to keep up with the Joneses. You have to consider what you’re saying, because otherwise we’ll tune you out,” Rickett said.

Jenna Fallon, Yakima Products’ global digital director, agreed. She noted that presentation must be a natural extension of the product. Whispbar’s booth at Summer Market was a case in point, with touch screens showing the product in action atop an elegant car to draw in viewers interested in Yakima’s premium line. When considering new merchandising initiatives, Fallon and her team ask: “What are the opportunities to bring life to the brand?”

When utilized well, technology provides a platform for movement and action, allowing consumers to experience a product more deeply than they would otherwise.

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While many new technologies offer a “wow” factor to start, the successful evolve into strategic tools. Consider tablets. They’re now part of daily life, rather than simply cool toys. Rickett noted that tablets allow exhibitors with huge product lines to tightly edit the product they bring to a trade show, letting the devices show various sizes and configurations. In turn, the smart use of tablets can provide a focused experience for buyers standing in a clean, uncluttered booth.

“Technology is consistently evolving, we are exploring it all the time, keeping our eyes and ears open. It has to be a right fit for our brand,” Fallon said.

Even by the time you read this article, there likely will be a new and exciting technological development.

These are just a few of the new products to debut at the show. Be sure to check out many more new products and trends in the O.R. Daily, published live at the show, and available digital format each following day of print on SNEWS.

--Robin Enright is the founder of Merchandising Matters, which provides visual merchandising and marketing support to the outdoor retailindustry.

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