Founded in 1922, the Fred Meyer chain of hyperstores (now owned by Kroger) are iconic in the Western US, with locations in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska. With a brand rooted in delivering an innovative customer experience through its network of retail stores, with a focus on the consumer electronics category, the company recently engaged integration firm, OnQ to redesign how Fred Meyer presents its CE products to its customers to enrich the in-store shopping experience.
As Fred Meyer serves multiple product categories within its stores, the company does not employ dedicated CE sales associates to field tech-specific questions. “Fred Meyer realizes that selling consumer tech products without a team of highly technical salespeople presents a unique challenge,” said OnQ founder and CEO Paul Chapuis. “OnQ’s collaboration with Fred Meyer produced a solution that solved this specific problem, increasing sales and delivering analytics that until now haven’t been possible with traditional retail.
Fred Meyer and OnQ collaborated to integrate a Converge Retail kinetic retail display platform. As with many retail projects, Fred Meyer required that the existing retail display structures be used. Therefore, the Converge system had to seamlessly integrate with the existing structure. To address this need, OnQ designed a display solution that works in conjunction with Fred Meyer’s existing displays, sitting atop the legacy structures and presenting the sliding tablets at the ideal height for customers to comfortably engage with the displays.
The Converge system consists of four rail-mounted tablet displays that slide laterally, automatically displaying in-depth product information as customers position the tablet in front of different products on display. Customers then interact with rich information and are able to view product specs and watch explain-er videos. If the consumer wishes to purchase in-aisle or even take the information home for purchasing later, they simply enter their phone number which transfers the same experience to their personal device. By presenting product information in this rich, robust way, Fred Meyer was able to achieve its goal of enabling its customers to shop electronics in a self-service environment.
“The Converge platform is a win-win for Fred Meyer and its customers,” said Jason Seed, COO of Converge Retail. “Shoppers now enjoy a sophisticated yet elegantly simple interface to learn about products on display, while behind-the-scenes Fred Meyer gets valuable, quantifiable insight to better understand customers’ in-store behavior.”
The customer-facing experience delivered by the Converge system is complemented by rich analytics captured behind the scenes. Every aspect of the customer journey is privately logged, which in aggregate informs the retailer about how frequently and how deeply customers engage with the various products on display. The retailer and the brands now have access to key insights such as which products hold more interest than others and which videos are watched the longest, enabling the retailer to refresh content as needed. This sort of A/B testing in the field makes the digital messaging most powerful, and the product assortment most relevant.
The Converge system also captures actionable leads each time a customer sends product information to their mobile phone, including detailed information about the customer’s engagement path with the Converge display. These leads represent highly motivated customers who traveled to the store, took the time to engage with the interactive retail display and sent the information to their phone.
As with any retailer, security was a primary concern for Fred Meyer, given the high value and small size of the tech products on display. This begged the question of how to secure the products, while simultaneously making it possible for customers to interact with and learn about the products in enough depth to make a purchasing decision. The custom enclosure and rail system secure the sliding tablets, while securely mounted product samples are within easy reach for customers to get a feel for the products’ scale, texture and general aesthetic feel.
Feedback from executives at Fred Meyer have been overwhelmingly positive. Sales of the displayed products have more than doubled, compared to stores with legacy displays in place. Store personnel have been very supportive, noting that the new displays are helpful not only to customers, but also to employees as they engage with the Converge system to further educate them-selves about the products on display.