Is technology becoming a new breed of sales assistant?

By: February 12, 2016

There is indeed nothing new under the sun. Do you remember from 2010, TaylorMade’s touch screen TVs (agency: Hello Design)? Now, Foremost Golf has just launched a new addition to its Elite Marketing Programme (EMP) with the launch of a new in-store interface that will provide its EMP members with bespoke, auto-populating advertising content.

The new interface system will serve as an extension of the existing personal golf services and retail marketing offered to Foremost EMP members by displaying relevant marketing material on monitors that will be strategically positioned in individual member shops.

With a central database containing information on supplier selections for every member professional, Foremost are in a unique position to deliver this extension of marketing for the benefit of both the professionals and the EMP suppliers by populating each in-store interface unit with relevant promotions. It would be more useful if it would be interactive (aka two-way communications) and facilitate cooperation between the professionals.

Can we say that technology is becoming a new breed of sales assistant?

At the same time, retailers should not neglect the phenomenon of ‘showrooming‘. Already in 2012, a poll found that 43% of U.S. adults have participated in showrooming. Harris Interactive found in the U.S. in 2013 something similar: 40%. I assume this percentage will be much higher in 2016 due to the extensive smartphone usage.

Showrooming means that stores are becoming more like galleries where customers come to see, learn or even to be entertained, but the actual purchase is made online. This is true regarding golf retailing as well, even if we know how much personal help a customer need to select the right golf club.

In this sense, TaylorMade was really innovative in 2010. So, it is time for Foremost Golf to embrace showrooming as a natural part of the sales process. They should learn from Wal-Mart and Best Buy how they turned showrooming to their benefit.

There are also retailers who moved to a higher level on understanding of ‘showrooming’ by experimenting on augmented reality (e.g. virtual fitting rooms).

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