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Data and the Retail Experience

Trevor Sumner IoT Chat

A conversation with Trevor Sumner @perchexperience

What does computer vision have to do with the customer experience? In this podcast, we explore this question with Trevor Sumner, CEO of Perch. Give it a listen to find out how interactive technology is transforming everything from high-end fashion to consumer packaged goods (CPG).

The conversation builds on the ideas Trevor shared with us in our article Interactive Digital Displays Let Every Product Tell a Story. But this interview goes even deeper, revealing surprising insights, including:

  • Why physical tech investments can have better ROI than e-commerce
  • How to measure in-store activity just like online traffic
  • How leading retailers like Sephora and Nike are using digital displays
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Transcript

Kenton Williston: Welcome to the IoT Chat, a production of insight.tech. I’m Kenton Williston, the editor and chief of insight.tech and your host for today’s podcast. This podcast was recorded during quarantine, so you may notice some differences in audio quality as well as possible guest appearances from pets and kids, but I’m glad you could join us either way. Let’s get into the conversation. Today’s podcast is all about the retail experience and the ways merchants can use technology to meaningfully engage their customers.

I’m joined today by Trevor Sumner, the CEO of Perch. Among other things, Perch has created some really amazing interactive displays that I’m excited to talk about. Oh, kind of got breathy there, I’m just going to re-record that line. I’m joined today by Trevor Sumner, the CEO of Perch. Among other things, Perch has created some really amazing interactive displays that I’m excited to talk about. But first, Trevor, tell me a little bit about yourself. What is your background, and what does Perch do?

Trevor Sumner: Yeah, so I’m a native New Yorker, I grew up on Washington Square Park. Have you seen the movie I Am Legend by chance?

Kenton Williston: I have, yes.

Trevor Sumner: I grew up in that house, so I really had a front seat, a porch if you will, a window onto the gay rights movement, the AIDS crisis, the arts in the village. It was a really tremendous time to grow up and be alive. And it’s also about growing up with metabolism of New York, I lived in Austin, Texas for a little while and I missed seeing a thousand people every day and walking in traffic, and so that type of metabolism, and computer science degree, led me into high growth startups in technology and marketing tech. So I’ve been doing that for about 20 years, doing e-commerce in ‘98 and e-business and even WEP gateways and wireless data in 2000 and 2002, and started my first company in 2010, which was an online marketing platform called LocalVox, which drove people from online to in store using a variety of techniques, by Google Maps optimization, social media, web and email.

And then recently joined as CEO about two and a half years ago at a really exciting company called Perch, which does these interactive displays that detect which products you touch the moment you touch them at the shelf, and so, basically think of it as a touch screen that wakes up and says, “Oh, I notice you’re touching this product or that product, can we tell you about it? And let me help guide you through the shopping process.” And so we’re an early-stage company, but growing rapidly. Our biggest customers include Macy’s, Johnson & Johnson, MAC, Invisalign and many others. And so it’s been really interesting to navigate the future of retail. It’s such an exciting time as everything’s transforming, and especially now in the age of coronavirus.

Kenton Williston: Yeah, absolutely. And of course, the whole context of we’re all living here currently during coronavirus and hopefully soon, post, I think is really going to change people’s expectations for what the in-store experience is, but of course this has been a topic that’s been very important in the industry for some number of years. And what I’m wondering is, from your perspective, how well the industry has really come to terms with what it actually means to deliver a great experience. So what I mean by that is, there’s been a tremendous amount of conversation over the last couple of years about having a consistent omnichannel presence, where whether you’re online or in the store, getting things deliver to your home, whatever it is, you have this really great tailored to you kind of experience.

But I think that’s really just the very tip of the iceberg if you will, and that there’s so much more merchants need to think about. So how do you see the state of the industry today?

Trevor Sumner: Yeah. I think it’s really interesting. There’s been obviously a lot of hype around e-commerce. What’s not often really covered is the fact that e-commerce is generally not profitable, and so there are very few people who are able to turn a profit in the e-commerce market, people point to Amazon, but Amazon doesn’t make its money on e-commerce, they actually make it on Amazon Web Services and now their $19 billion advertising platform. The reality is that 89% of spending happens in store or in some type of brick-and-mortar location, and if you look at in on terms of growth, on a dollar basis, actually in store is growing more on a dollar basis than e-commerce.

Now, e-commerce is growing faster, make no mistake, about 14% versus a little over 2% for brick and mortar, but in total dollars spent, brick and mortar, it has really out sized influence on the way we spend. And so this notion of omnichannel presence is really interesting, because it used to be that people took a look at each channel separately, but the reality is these channels influence each other. So for example, if you open up a store, your e-commerce in that region goes up by about 37%, that’s a big, big number. And so... Omnichannel, to me, is recognition that it’s different than multichannel. Omnichannel means that the customer is the channel and the customer will interact with you on multiple channels, and you have to start measuring the behaviors in store just as you do online, and this is an area where the brick and mortar retail has been lagging quite a bit.

Basically we’ve had store traffic type of counters and sales data, and that’s like providing just a number of uniques that you have to your e-commerce site, and then a list of sales at the end. There’s no middle of the funnel kind of analysis and data that comes through. And so, we’re really just at the beginning to think about what matters in store, how do we measure it, what does an in-store experience look like that has the type of brand influence, because if you look at all the different channels, I think you would look at what is the cost of acquisition of a customer across that channel, how much does that customer spend, what is the profitability of that customer, and how does that affect my brand equity?

And if you measure every single channel across those four different dimensions, the number one channel across the board is in store retail. And so... What we’re seeing is a massive shift from e-commerce and technology that’s been easily applied to the software world, and now being applied to the physical world. And then, whether you call that Internet of things or anything else, it’s a really exciting time because the first goal is to start instrumenting it and looking at what are obvious pain points in the retail store experience.

Kenton Williston: So who do you think has gone the farthest towards solving this problem, and what are they doing right that other folks can learn from?

Trevor Sumner: Yeah. I think what’s interesting is it’s really category and shopper dependent. So the beauty industry is one that has driven a lot of engagement, and their products naturally require a lot of education, but there’s also a lot of joy in that shopping process. When I go out and think about refiling my deodorant, it’s a chore. When a woman goes to a beauty store, it’s a joy, right? Or can be a joy, depending on the experience, right? So.. What we’re finding is people like MAC have implemented technology to make it easier to explore products. So with Perch for example, they have it so when you touch a lipstick, it will put it on your face via virtual try on. We also do that with Covergirl, we do that with Bourjois, we’ve done that with Sephora, and what this really allows you to do is to explore more colors than you would otherwise in store, because trying on samples, it’s unsanitary, and also after a certain number, they all blend together and you start looking like The Joker, right?

So thinking through what are the frictions that prevent people from engaging more in the products. I think beauty’s done a really nice job, in part because they’re a high margin category of leveraging the sales associates on top of technology to guide people through the process.

I think Nike is doing a great job in terms of the excitement and the experience around their products, they’re doing things like virtual product hunts, they do a lot around customization, limited released, online to offline activation, leverage their stores to engage customers in new products. They do a wonderful job of that. I think the luxury side of the house has always done a nice job of creating experience for their customers that people talk a lot about. Canada Goose, and the ability to go into their arctic locker and try on one of their coats.

And again, that tends to be easier when you’re dealing with a high margin product in the luxury space, but we’ve seen a really nice flourishing of how people are explaining their products in store, even at CPG. So for example, Johnson & Johnson has a wonderful end cap that’s on a standard kind of low jay shelf, it’s the metal shelf that you’ll find at any grocery store. And what they do, it’s the moment you touch a product on the beauty side of the house, they try and explain Neutrogena and all their Hydro Boost products, and there are about six of them, how you use them, when you use them, and really think about the education point of view of a customer.

And so I think there are a lot of people really looking what that looks like. In the grocery side of the house there’s a lot of technology being applied for buy online, pick up in store, ways to do contactless payments or even frictionless payments. So technology is really creating this renaissance of not only removing the frictions, but also creating these joyful experiences.

Kenton Williston: Yeah. And just for our geeky audience who might not be up on all the lingo that the C-suite has, CPG, that’s consumer packaged goods, right?

Trevor Sumner: Yeah, consumer packaged goods, stuff that you find at grocery or Target or Walmart and the big box players.

Kenton Williston: Awesome. So it sounds like there’s a lot of different prongs to what makes for a good experience. Everything from, like I said at the outset, having a really consistent unified experience when there’s really fluid transitions between online delivery, in store, et cetera. And of course there’s also the pure in store experiential elements to that, which include things like personalization, customization, as well as the larger notion of the virtual aisle. And I’m wondering, do any of these stand out to you as being particularly important? Again, obviously it’s going to depend a lot on the particular space we’re talking about.

Trevor Sumner: Yeah. I think there are a bunch of people doing some interesting work in terms of attracting customers and engaging them. One of my favorite Perch installations is Jo Malone and their fragrance company, and they have this beautiful cabinet, and the moment you touch a fragrance, it animates into honey suckle and lemon, or sage and wood, or whatever you’ll smell, into that fragrance. It’s so beautiful and unexpected, and surprising.

And so that is much more on the experiential side of the house, but on the other side of the house, it’s just really providing the product level content that we’ve come to expect, right? So 87% of people start their product research online, because that’s where the content is, right? We want ratings and reviews, and how-tos, and videos, and it’s ironic to me that so much of that content never makes it in store to where purchasing decisions are made.

So if you pick up Zyrtec, we know you have allergies, so it will help promote Visine for your eyes, Rhinocort for your nose, those type of things, right? And I personally know this works, it’s embarrassing to say in front of the whole world, but I am now a BENGAY user, and I think it’s hard not to chuckle, because when you think BENGAY, you think it’s old man cream and I’m a 43 year old guy who still plays basketball a couple times a week, and I picked up the Tylenol and it said, “Hey, if you have aches and pains, you should also consider BENGAY.” And I picked up the BENGAY and it started explaining, it’s like, it’s for muscle soreness and pains and aches, and I have a lot more of that than I have ever had before, I heal a lot slower. And I tried it and it works.

And it’s that basic level of engagement with content marketing that has been so proven on the internet, that it’s really just an open wide frontier to bring that same level of content marketing expertise, that same level of digital expertise to the in-store experience, that has become really, really effective.

Kenton Williston: So I got to tell you, that really hits home for a lot of different reasons. I happen to be 42 years old as well and I have acquired a long list of allergies just over the last couple of years, so boy, that Zyrtec example really hits home for me.

Trevor Sumner: Yeah.

Kenton Williston: So this all totally makes sense and makes me wonder why hasn’t anybody else been doing this until now? What’s Perch doing differently? What was the gap in the marketplace that you needed to fill?

Trevor Sumner: Yeah. So I think it’s a good question, right? People are spending these enormous sums of money on content and digital media to influence commerce, and yet the one place where digital media has not yet really penetrated is where 89% of actual commerce happens, which is in the store, right? It’s a conundrum. So why is that? Well, I think traditional digital signage, I call the banner ad of in store retail. Most people at this point have forgotten what a banner ad was, but banner ads were interruptive, they didn’t help the shopping experience, they were these flashing things that were interruptive to the experience that you were doing. They weren’t personalized, they weren’t contextual, they weren’t interactive.

And so just like ads on Facebook and Instagram and Google have changed the whole concept of internet advertising by providing that contextual net, same as something like Perch, where, as opposed to for example, walking by and the digital signage saying, “Maybe it’s Maybelline.” Okay, great, “Maybe it’s Maybelline,” how does that help me pick a beauty product? It doesn’t, right? I need ratings and reviews, I need prices, I need how-tos, I need videos, but until Perch, there was no way to easily do that on a product level, right? So there are 100 products on the shelf, you can’t just flip through all of them just randomly.

So making this contextual and detecting which products, for the first time you can message every product on the shelf, you can cross-sell, you can upsell, you can educate, and it’s just a completely different game to do product level marketing and digital content, and it’s an order of magnitude different. So where digital signage typically sees about a 1% to 4% sales lift, we see 30% to 130%, that’s 10X. And so just like Facebook and Google are providing 10X value than a banner ad, this solution is providing 10X, this level of intelligence that’s powered by our understanding, we use computer vision and RealSense cameras to interpret the world around us, to understand the shopper, to understand their behavior, to understand what they’re touching.

And now we can be truly contextual. And so I think the other part of it, is people are beginning to realize the power of digital media in store, and so you’re seeing a tremendous amount of investment right now, whether it’s Walmart Media Network, Target, which is doing Roundel, News America, [inaudible], all these people are investing a tremendous amount of money because there is this vacuum of needed digital media in store and now there are these technologies to make that stuff more helpful and interactive.

Kenton Williston: So I’m glad you mentioned the Intel OpenVINO and RealSense Technologies, because I think that is a pretty critical element to why this has not been more prominent before. And what I’m thinking here is, to your point, it’s not just sort of a broad brush, “Hey, we’ve got beauty products. Hey, we’ve got health products. Hey, we’ve got electronics,” right? You’re trying to do things on a very specific product by product basis, and that’s tough to do unless you have a system that can easily and quickly identify without a lot of complexity in the setup, what product is the customer engaging with. And so I’m wondering what you’ve done to enable that on the software side, on the hardware side, how it is you’re actually going about creating a platform where the merchant can say, “Wow, holy cow. I’ve got these 1000, 10, 000, 100, 000 products that I want to be able to deliver meaningful engagements on. How am I going to create a system that can have that level of intelligence?”

Trevor Sumner: Yeah. No, absolutely. And I think if you look at the technology trends that are enabling this type of intelligence at the shelf’s edge, that’s been a key enabler here, right? So whereas traditional digital signage are dumber media players, they’re just... the reason that they’re dumber is because you want to get the cost down as much as possible, right? But Perch is a powerful Linux based distributed network of computing devices and it’s based on the Intel NUC core architecture. And the cameras, if you look at computer vision, the level of sophistication of the libraries, we’ve gone further in the last two years than in the 10 years before that. So we can now do so much more based upon the libraries that are out there, based upon the architectures, the costs have gone down tremendously, the reliability is just super critical.

So how do you build a network of thousands and thousands of intelligent devices that are doing computer vision interpretation, rich media delivery, interactivity, aggregating data, syncing it to the cloud? How do you sync that data to the cloud cost effectively? What happens if your persistent data connection gets cut off? How do you create a self-healing system? These are complicated computing environments that have been made affordable and scalable because of a lot of the technologies that vendors like Intel are providing us. And so the software for driving this level of architecture reliably just hasn’t been available, and that’s a lot of what we focus on, which is how do you do this at scale? You see a lot of agencies provide these one-off experiences that are amazing and do some of the stuff that Perch may do, but you can’t do more than three or four of them because it becomes unmanageable, and you can’t maintain that, they’re not reliable.

And so the technology has enabled us to deliver this at scale reliably, and then also to get enough data to prove that the stuff works, so to be able to deploy this around a network of 50, 100, 200 stores at a time and to look at those test stores versus control stores, to really see the impact and the sales list, and prove it in a conclusive way, because technology infrastructure, especially when you deal with hardware, you’ve got to justify the ROI. That stuff is not necessarily easy to move and update just like software. And so the data that we bring to bear has become increasingly valuable as well.

Kenton Williston: Yeah, that’s a really good point. And I’m wondering if you could walk me through how exactly you do measure that ROI, is it like you said, about increased sales, more engagement, what is it exactly that you’re measuring as success?

Trevor Sumner: Yeah, I think that’s a great question. So the base level is we look at sales lift, so we look at the sales lift on skews that are enabled by the Perch platform and we compare that to a set of test stores across those same skews, and as I said, we typically see 30% to 130% sales lift, which is astronomical. I have to tell you, I say these numbers and people generally don’t believe us, right? But we’ve got the case studies, you go to perchinteractive.com, we have case studies from some of the largest brands and retailers out there, where they’re counting what the impact of the technology is.

But that’s only a portion of it, right, because in the same way that in store experience affects online sales, when you have influence, this shopper, if there’s a long-term benefit. So we look at lifetime value of a customer, we also look at media. So the way I think about it is like online, I can click on a product to get more information, I should be able to do that in store, right? And that’s what Perch does, the moment I touch a product, I’m effectively clicking on it to get more information. And if you look at that action on a cost per click basis, or cost per touch basis, we’re actually cheaper than Facebook or Instagram by about 50%, and if you look at the cost of acquisitions on these networks of like Facebook and Instagram, they’ve gone up 300% over the last five years, they’ve basically squeezing all the margin out of the industry.

And so there’s been this shift towards in store retail and measuring this media, and when you look at that measurement of media and that impact, that’s another way of looking at ROI. Lastly, I would take a look at some of the models between retailers and brands. The reality is that brands often pay retailers for promotional space, for premium real estate that displays their product either on an end cap or in some special way. Effectively what Perch does, is it creates the luxury real estate, the nicest real estate that you want to be on. And so for the retailers who have rolled out these programs, they typically sell it to the brands for 4X to 5X the cost of the program, so they’re seeing 400% to 500% ROI before they even sell more product.

And so you add up all these different notions of ROI, the sales lift, the media impact, the lifetime value and these co-op dollars, and then for some people, they’re looking at sales associate expense because they now can man this with less sales associates. And we’re typically seeing 500% plus type ROI, and so that’s why we look at, as soon as possible, doing a statistically and meaningful test, so that we can prove these things out, because the numbers that we’re seeing are really outstanding.

Kenton Williston: Yeah. And I have to say, if I were a retailer, I can understand how I’d be skeptical that you could increase my sales and my engagements and so forth by such large factors, but I think the other thing that I would be worried about is the I part of the ROI. You’re explaining how complicated all this technology is, and I can definitely imagine retailers getting heartburn about like, “Wow, this sounds amazing, and maybe you sold me that this really can have an amazing impact on my store, but this thing’s going to be a nightmare to deploy, it’s going to be a nightmare to maintain.” So how do you go about addressing those kinds of concerns, and what do you do to work with your customers to make sure this is as easy and seamless as possible?

Trevor Sumner: Yeah. Look, I think we’re talking technology, right? So I love to geek out and talk about the computer vision algorithms and some of the vector-based analysis that we’re doing, but I would never say that to a customer, right? The reality is that this is a system that connects to the internet, that literally all you have to do is plug it in and it just comes to life and connects to the internet, and we have full control over it. So all a retailer needs to make sure, is that we’ve got power. The way our model works is we basically do a subscription-based price, and that includes all the cost of the hardware, so you don’t have to worry about buying the hardware and, “Now I’ve owned this hardware and do I have to maintain it?” We do all of that.

We provide in store and remote support as part of the program. If somebody punches through one of the touch screens, not that that’s ever happened, you could call us up and we replace it for free, that’s just part of it. So you have predictable costs, you don’t have to worry about the hardware, it runs on its own dedicated 4G network, so we don’t have to worry about your IT team and which ports are open, all you need to know is it works. And we’ve done... Our biggest deployment to date has a mean time between failure of about 40 years. So when you look at failure rates, that’s ultimately what really matters.

I went to... I don’t want to say which big box retailer it was, a couple months back and they had this big display, and it had a Windows error on it. And it’s just like, “Oh, what a waste.” That’s what you’ve got to avoid. So all complexity and the technology that we have built to create that resilience, that’s a technical feat that we love to talk about, but ultimately the customer just needs to know you plug it in and it works, and any time there’s a problem, you just call us and we’ll replace it within 48 hours. And then you look at the case studies about the sales list and it’s clear that not only is this stuff resilient, it’s extraordinarily effective.

And so you really need to have to think about how to make technology simple and focus on the business case of what you’re delivering, and not necessarily all the depths of the technology behind it.

Kenton Williston: Yeah, that totally makes sense. And I’m wondering how your relationship with Intel has fed into this. So for example, Intel’s done a tremendous amount of work developing its remote management technology so you can make sure you’re maintaining that uptime. So can you just speak a little bit to how you worked with Intel on what kind of benefits that provides to your end customers?

Trevor Sumner: Yeah. No, absolutely. Intel’s been an amazing partner  You talked about how do you get people to have confidence in the technology, saying you’re an Intel partner and you’re using Intel products, that helps a lot, right? We use top of the line products across our stack, some of them you won’t know the names of, but saying that an Intel based CPU and Intel based camera, those are the types of things that help bring confidence. And then on the development side of the house, they’re just very responsive.

We’re building some new and exciting technology on their platform and as you push the limits, you want to know that you have a partner that wants to help you push those limits, but also you know is going to continue to support the products for the long-term, is going to be there for the long-term, and continue to be the right choice, not just now, but a year from now, five years from now. And it’s very easy for us to feel that level of confidence and comfortability with Intel.

Kenton Williston: So everything you’ve talked about here in terms of the results merchants can achieve, it’s very impressive, but I’m sure even as impressive as these results are, once people actually get your systems deployed in their stores, their surprise is positive surprises, hopefully, but they encounter benefits they weren’t even expecting. Are there any examples of that?

Trevor Sumner: Yeah. I think there are a couple different ones. I love looking at the way people interact with these displays and the surprise and delights and when somebody picks up their product and realize that the display is reactive to that, the shelf, what people have for hundreds of years thought that shelves are these static things just for holding products, are now interactive and reactive in these magical ways, and to watch them smile and then pull up their phones and text it to their friends, I love that. And in fact, one of the things that I’m looking forward to is starting to measure the number of smiles we generate more than... not just the engagement.

But I think when you talk to our customers, I think the biggest surprise is the data, right, and what you could do with it. So if I asked anybody online, “Which of your products that people click on convert best to sales?” They would be like, “Oh, it’s these ones,” right? And they’re constantly optimizing conversion rates with A/B tests and multi... various tests. If I go to a brand and say, “Tell me, of your top 10 best-selling products, which one converts the best when somebody picks it up to the sale? Like, when they start considering it and put it in their hand, what are the best converting products?” They’ll look at you like you have seven heads like, “What do you mean?” It’s like, “Well like, when somebody’s interested in a product, how often do they convert to sales? Which are your best converting products?” And they don’t know.

And so you could start looking at these ratios of like, “5%, 10% of the time when somebody picks up this product, they convert to sale. And this one over there is 20%.” Well, what is it about that 20%, what’s different about it? Is it pricing, is it packaging, is it messaging, is it value? And can I start testing these different things? And then an example of this is Johnson & Johnson, for that beauty end cap we were talking about, they were looking at... One of their products converted a lot better from pickup to the screen, people were interacting with the screen a lot more on a pickup to screen conversion basis. So what is about the content?

And they realized it was the only product that didn’t use Jennifer Aniston for Aveeno, or Kerry Washington for Neutrogena, it was using influencer videos. And they say, “Well, what happens if we change all the content to influencer videos?” And they saw a 20% increase in digital engagement and a 10% increase in sales. That is monumental, to be able to have a framework not only for that analytics, in terms of understanding what’s happening in the middle of a funnel, but also to be able to change the content, change the digital, and then measure the difference in what happens, so you have this platform for continuous improvement, it’s amazing, it’s transformative, right? You can actually start doing things faster, right?

When people think about refresh cycles in the two to three months at a time, now you could refresh weekly, as some of our clients do, or you can look at A/B testing in meaningful ways. And so what that opens people’s eyes up to is that all these digital competencies that we’ve taken for granted around commerce optimization, around content marketing, around product level marketing, you can now bring in store, and once we start seeing that, I think there’s the question of like, “Oh my God. Well, what do we do now?” Right? Like, “Now, how do we build a competency around this so that we can take advantage of these new capabilities and this new visibility?

Kenton Williston: Oh, that’s really great. So I want to zoom out, get kind of a closing thought for our listeners and just pick your brain here. What would you say, thinking... again, very broadly speaking, should merchants be thinking about when they’re considering how technology can help them deliver a better in store experience?

Trevor Sumner: Yeah. I think it’s really important that you look at platforms that are able to scale and adapt as your needs change, and that’s the beautiful thing about digital, right? So Johnson & Johnson is using it for cross-sell in one place and education in another. At Kate Spade, they’re using the technology so that when you pick up a purse, you can personalize it with polka dots or stripes and create a custom purse, and even send it to you online and take advantage of endless aisle. You want something that you can learn from and that can be adapted, because often people pick a technology for a specific product launch and then six months later that product no longer is as important to them, it’s not a strategic initiative.

So you want to find things that are lasting, you want to understand customers’ frictions and needs really deeply so that you pick technologies that make sense. And then lastly, I think all of this is... especially for retail organizations, one of the things that we find is there’s a lot of technology that gets adopted for a pilot that never gets rolled out, and that has to do a lot with not having a true measurement and a ROI infrastructure, and also because of just the nature of churn in retail organization. So if you’re going to test some technology, and you should be, constantly, make sure you’re choosing something that’s statistically significant, because if you get a bunch of results and it’s on three stores, people, six months later, they’re going to say, “Well, this wasn’t statistically significant. Now let’s do a bigger store test.”

And then there are going to be years and years before you adopt a technology. Do something sizeable, statistically significant, make sure everybody’s brought in, make sure you understand the use case, and then have a couple of use cases that you want to test, different ways that you can use the technology, whether that’s in different areas of the store, different modes of selling or messaging clients, and then get quantitative feedback as well as qualitative feedback. And do it not only from your consumers, your customers, but also from your in-store staff, because a lot of ways this technology breaks down is operational issues or the way that it interacts with staff members and sales associates.

If you really understand that full landscape and you have a clear thesis, and your goal is to adopt technology not as a one hit wonder for a single campaign or for a quarter, but to really have a platform that allows you to evolve over time and allows you to get better over time, eventually you’ll get it so that it meets all your use cases as you learn, and I think that’s absolutely critical.

Kenton Williston: I love that. Totally makes sense, that scalability is really the heart of what matters. So it just leaves me to say thank you, Trevor, for joining us today. I really appreciate your time.

Trevor Sumner: Yeah. My pleasure. This was great.

Kenton Williston: So Trevor, if people want to find you online, where’s the best place to reach you?

Trevor Sumner:  I’m pretty active on Twitter, at @trevorsumner, so that’s T-R-E-V-O-R S-U-M as in Mars, N as in Neptune, E-R, and I think this is a rapidly changing space, so I eagerly encourage everybody to connect with me and ask me questions as well as offer up your opinions about what’s going on in retail. It’s a fascinating time with billions of dollars being spent to reimagine what the in-store retail experience is going to look like, and it’s exciting to be right in the nexus of it all.

Kenton Williston: All right, thanks again, Trevor, we really appreciate it. And thank you so much to our listeners for joining us. As always, if you enjoyed this podcast please make sure to support us by subscribing and rating us on Apple podcasts. And if you want to chat more about retail technology, make sure to tweet us @insight.tech. This has been the IoT Chat podcast. Join us next time for more conversations with industry leaders at the forefront of IoT design.

About the Author

Kenton Williston is the Editor-in-Chief of insight.tech and served as the editor of its predecessor publication, the Embedded Innovator magazine. Kenton received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 2000 and has been writing about embedded computing and IoT ever since.

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