Great lessons on amazement, interactive shopping, products and people

There was a lot of information floating around the recent PSFK Conference in New York and it took some time to digest the insight given out by speakers. The information imparted was well worth the tech time-out and there some good advice retailers can take from the world of tech.

Amazement is key!
Futurist and filmmaker Jason Silva — who speaks at a gazillion kilometres a second — says technology can quickly manifest our ideas and desires but that to really see and experience the world in new ways, we need to take a step back. “Tom Robbins says you can’t manufacture creativity or wonderment, but you can pull yourself out of context so dramatically that you gawk in amazement at the ubiquitous everyday wonders you’re culturally conditioned to ignore,” he says. Silva cites evoking novel ways of seeing things as being key. “For me, that involves throwing myself into new situations. Some of the thinkers I respect the most have credited travel, walks in the park, and marijuana as creativity catalysts. Really, its anything that triggers free association and the right conceptual collision.”

Shopping is about to get a whole lot more fun and interactive
Rachel Shechtman is behind an exciting new physical retail marketing experience that has the point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery and operates like a store, selling items. It’s called Story and it’s based in New York, where every 4-6 weeks the space changes to relate to a theme set up to enhance the interaction of each of the elements. Shechtman believes we are ready for new models in retail — both for brands and consumers. “As a technology savvy culture, we get news and information every second (and in other formats like daily newspapers and monthly magazines), yet most stores refresh goods four times a year and renovate after years.” She says retail needs to explore more fluid formats to mirror the exhcange of information in other areas of our lives.

“A well designed product sells itself”
Abe Burmeister was a bike rider who needed clothing that didn’t sweat and wear out on his rides to work. He started his company Outlier to solve this personal need, but ended up finding others who benefited from his clothing too. He is of the belief that if you sell something online directly to people, as he did, it just might work. “A well designed product sells itself — it’s just text and graphics. There are no salesmen on a webpage. Since the internet is disrupting the way products are designed, designers are now in direct contact with consumers, without traditional marketing & advertising, management and salespeople.” He started with an idea only, and, through the reach of the web, has end up with a company.

“People, at the end of the day, like decent people”
Todd Carmichael, CEO & Co-Founder of coffee company La Colombe Torrefaction manages his brand philanthropically, “as if it were a decent person.” He believes others should too, saying the more brands work from this core ethos, the more consumer loyalty they’ll achieve, and our lives will all be the better for it.



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