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Technology and the store- wither the sales associate?

November 7, 2011

Adidas are experimenting with an interesting piece of technology to enhance the store experience-called Adiverse.

It’s basically a massive database of content that allows potential shoe purchasers to access a lot of detail about shoes.

It goes deep very to include-media assets and even comments from social networks.

There’s no reason why this isn’t the same experience that they could have online at home using a computer, tablet or even their mobile. Obviously, in the retail environment the big screen helps.

However, it feels like something is really missing here; there’s a big lack of human interaction. It’s as if the idea of a competent sales associate has been abandoned and is only there to help the consumer transact, everything given up for self-serving technology.

The technologically enhanced sales associate, who armed with a tablet has the power to share much of the same experience and also has the benefit to gather rich and detailed data about the potential purchaser. I feel that this would be a better way to go to create an experience that enhances what a user might be able to experience on their own from the comfort of their own home.

As technology and screens start to invade our retail landscape it will be interesting to see how companies approach the opportunity; is it a way to cut costs and eliminate sales associates all together, or a way to empower them?

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