A recent white paper from Adobe, “The Sum of It’s Parts. How connecting experiences makes them great”, looks at how customer experiences have changed in the channels we use, but perhaps not in the fundamentals that have been in place since medieval times.

  • Highly personal and interactive
  • Immediacy
  • Word-of-mouth
  • Primal need to connect

Whilst I’ll leave you to read the report if you wish, I have to ask what is the primary difference between medieval marketeers and todays virtual marketeers? Reality.

Recently my family has been looking for a new car and online I’ve been surrounded by beautifully crafted messages, great reviews, polished YouTube videos and a constant stream of Google Ad adverts related to SUV’s to help me compile a short list. With my list of full of both premium and mid-range brand cars I left home one Saturday morning to experience reality.

What I found across the board were lack lustre sales people in both high-end and pretty poorly maintained environments. As I actively got in cars in the showroom and discussed them with my wife and children I was amazed at how little anyone was interested in finding out what I was looking to buy. The end result being we left all but one without passing our ‘real’ details to the sales people.

Inevitably I will buy the car we are looking for, but I’m finding this pattern of great channel promotion more and more not reflected in the bricks and mortar reality of brands. So perhaps its time for a new way to sell products…

The product experience showroom.

Here we find experts in demonstrating the product or service with no expectation to sell anything to you. Their primary mission is to reaffirm your choice in getting you to the showroom and making it as easy as possible to test and ask questions. Then off we go back online to order our real product.

In some ways that’s just what I do at John Lewis. Whilst never knowingly being undersold, I guess they do need to get an internet connection in every store to see that virtually every day and with every branded product, they are being undersold. That said, they do make a great showroom for the products they sell.

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