|I know. That headline totally looks like a typo, right? But it’s not. It’s an amazingly counterintuitive insight that’s gaining clout in the trade show world. In fact, it’s not limited to busy trade show floors. It’s showing up in the retail world as well. One of the most extreme examples is provided by Clinique®, one of the largest makeup and skincare brands in North America.Clinique built its business using a traditional one-on-one selling model. Consultants outfitted in white lab coats spend 30 minutes with a customer explaining products and upselling them into additional ones. But Clinique realized it had a problem. Not everyone wants to spend 30 minutes talking to a consultant. Especially if they only have 10 minutes on their lunch break, and all they want to do is buy more of something they’re already using. It was too much of a hassle, and it meant Clinique was losing customers who were ready to buy and didn’t want to be sold.|
According to Anthony Battaglia, vice president of global store design and visual merchandising for Clinique, the move signals “the end of Do Not Touch. We had to remind the customer [that] our product is here to play with.”Clinique won’t say how widespread their “no hassle” makeover will be, but they noted that self service locations utilizing iPads® for product information are posting sales 3% higher than average. In addition, the company says its new strategy has led to double-digit growth in dollar sales at many stores.
Creating an oasis in the middle of the chaos.
The basic assumption at the centre of the “no hassle” theory is the idea that no interaction might actually equate to positive interaction for certain prospects or customers. Trade shows are chaotic, and many attendees become overwhelmed and fatigued from the constant barrage of salespeople and information. Within that context, providing attendees with a spot to sit or charge their phones for a bit might be one of the best ways to get them to spend some time in your booth.”When you provide a service or convenience, you provide an oasis in a sea of madness—and that can be more valuable than a brochure,” says David Varady, chief marketing officer of EEI Global, a Rochester Hills, Michigan-based marketing firm that creates trade show displays for companies like BMW® and Mini Cooper®. “People have a tendency to put up barriers if it looks like sharks are hovering, waiting for [the] next prospect. Instead, create an intriguing, welcoming environment that includes elements of self-discovery such as informational kiosks. Customers will discover more about you on their own.”
Is it time to give your trade show booth a makeover?
No hassle zones are a relatively new idea, but the theory behind them is based on larger trends that extend beyond trade shows. As consumers become more tech savvy, many of them would rather investigate companies and products on their own, connecting when they’re ready to BUY versus when they want to be SOLD. No hassle zones provide a way to service that customer and ultimately increase overall engagement.
Holmes, Elizabeth. “Leave me Alone, I’m Shopping.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc., 28 June 2012. Web. 20 Mar. 2013.
Vozza, Stephanie. “Lessons in Customer Engagement from the Detroit Auto Show.” Entrepreneur. Entrepreneur Media, Inc., 25 Jan. 2013. Web. 21 Mar. 2013.
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