The difference is in the demo.
Day four. Santa Monica.
I spent today at sunny b8ta Santa Monica located in an outdoor mall called Santa Monica Place. This is our most premium store from a design perspective, featuring a totally open storefront, beautiful wood tables, and two experience rooms. I love visiting, as the team has always done an amazingly creative job with merchandising. For example, they’ve turned the front window space into a faux lawn for Husqvarna Automower to mow.
We also had a few LA-based makers visit us, including Sameer, the CEO of Biostrap. Biostrap is a wrist-and-shoe wearable combo that I’ve been using for the last week. In my opinion, its best feature is a very clever algorithm that automatically detects the type of workout you’re performing.
For example, if you’re swimming, it can actually auto-detect the type of stroke you’re doing. If you’re at the gym, it knows when you’re lifting weights versus running, and you can use its speech recognition to fill in details like weights and reps for precise calorie tracking.
Design a retail experience that naturally takes customers on a journey.
Sameer’s visit gave us an opportunity to talk about how important it is for makers to design a performant retail experience in a store. There is no better way to learn about your product and how it resonates with customers than to spend a day in the store talking to customers, giving demos, and observing their interactions and intuitions with your product.
At b8ta, we think about the retail customer journey in four steps:
- Make the customer aware of the product.
- Help the customer discover a use case that’s compelling.
- Provide a flawless demo.
- Answer all of the follow-up questions.
Awareness is about introducing.
Awareness happens in about five seconds, and is driven by a simple message that encourages the customer to learn more. That’s it. Here is one by Keyport that I think is the perfect draw:
Discovery is about story telling.
Through the messaging, tell the customer why their life will be better when they have your product, and reserve features and details for the end when the customer has questions beyond, “What is this?” or “What does it do?”
Demos are about the physical experience.
Every product needs a short and sweet demo that works consistently and can be set up and run in 30 seconds or less. The demo needs to get the product in the hands of the customer. This gets them to touch, connect, and remember it.
Touch is what sets physical retailers apart from ecommerce sites. Demos and hands-on product experiences are what set b8ta apart from physical retailers.
Questions are about understanding.
Lastly, staff need to be trained on detailed questions and objection handling. Features and specs can be saved for the display. I’ll share more on how we think about training tomorrow.
My notes from the day, taken with Neo smartpen.
- Depict, a large, 4k digital art display received a lot of interest today. One person asked if it could be used as a second monitor, another wanted to see if we had any that were bigger. His conclusion was that he needed to buy two to place them side by side.
- Toddler Monitor received interest from a new mom who said “THIS IS GENIUS!”
- A gentleman inquired about Dreem and asked if it could record his dreams.
- Two visitors from Australia asked if Petcube could monitor their kids. I said technically yes, but there were other products that might be better for that. After some confusion, I realized that they called their dogs their kids.
- An A-list celebrity (who was incredibly nice) spent 30 minutes in the store, and ended up with a handful of our favorite products. Unsurprisingly, the Santa Monica store receives many famous visitors.
- We frequently get asked if we are retargeting customers on Facebook who have seen products in our store, and today we received a gentleman who was incredibly insistent that we were. For the record, as much we’d like to be able to do that, no such technology exists today. It’s more likely that the customer had accessed the websites of our product makers, and is being targeted via something called “Lookalike” audiences.