Image Source SXSW

Whilst we have been exploring the future of technology in retail, SXSW has helped shaped our analysis of how we believe brands can innovate in the future.

SXSW is an annual film, music and technology festival that explores innovations of tech culture in its nascent stages. The conference empowers brands to understand and navigate the future of digital.

With Alexa in the consumer home and pop music being created by algorithms, technology is rapidly redefining the human experience, as we know it. Yet what is interesting about that previous sentence is the term ‘human experience’.

According to Nathaniel Ru, co-founder, Sweetgreen, a key takeaway explored at SXSW is that “technology should enhance human experience, but never replace it.”

Moving forward, retail experiences can remain relevant by trading on what it feels like to be human. Experience itself is a human concept. Retailers can push boundaries by exploring the differences between digital and human experiences. Thus, what constitutes as a human experience?

As cliché as it sounds, ‘living in the here and now’ is a truly human experience. A reflection of this is rise of real time communication between brands and consumers. As such, ‘in the moment’ marketing was explored at SXSW. An innovative example was the New York Times’ Dare to Go Live. The live streams created by the publication capitalises on real time engagement that fosters a personal experience for consumers.

Consequently, ‘in the moment’ marketing is becoming a tool to entice consumers in to store. We have seen this example with Lidl’s price drop. According to The Guardian, the food retailer sold 40,000 lobsters in a single day.

Innovative real time marketing can make the consumer feel a sense of urgency surrounding a purchase and thus be a vehicle to entice them into store.