This was the first year HARMAN Professional Solutions joined the HARMAN Connected Car, Lifestyle Audio and Connected Services divisions at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event proved to be a great success. The top floor of the HARMAN Professional Solutions section of the booth demonstrated voice-enabled cognitive room solutions that leveraged our collaboration with IBM Watson IoT.

The first floor of the Professional Solutions booth featured a Connected Retail solution. This area of the booth demonstrated how connected retail capabilities can enhance shoppers’ in-store experience and improve a store’s revenue. To learn more about this, we spoke with Lisa Ross, Manager of Restaurant & Retail, U.S. for HARMAN Professional Solutions.

[DG] Who came to the Connected Retail Experience at HARMAN’s CES booth at, and what was their reaction?

Lisa Ross demonstrating the interactive store directory

Lisa Ross demonstrating the interactive store directory

[LR]: We really had two types of customers coming into HARMAN Professional Solutions’ Connected Retail Experience. First, we had customers who came for the Connected Car, but then wanted to talk about what we could do for their showrooms and experience centers. We also had customers coming in and talking to the Lifestyle team about our consumer products across the aisle. These are clients who sell our Bluetooth speakers, headphones etc. They came into the Professional Solutions section and really had a new understanding of how we can really create an awesome retail environment that can help them sell more product.

When they came into the retail section, we spoke with them about how we can turn retail into an interactive activity space where customers are coming in and really learning about and using the products. This helps them migrate sales from online sales to an in-store environment where they can really touch and feel the product.

[DG]: Were the guests at the booth mostly from their respective retail teams?

[LR]: We had a range of different visitors with a variety of roles. Some of them were buyers, and some were even from the engineering teams, but they all knew they needed a better way to elevate their brand. Some were from the retail team and some weren’t, but everyone was very invested in their brands. These were all people who had the capability and motivation to go back and tell the rest of their team about HARMAN’s capabilities in this technology to help them tell a better story.

[DG] What were people discovering in the Professional Solutions area of the booth, and what really grabbed their attention?

[LR]: The customers at this show in particular didn’t even realize that HARMAN offered Martin Lighting for retail, for example. They know about what we offer for rock concerts, big events and large entertainment venues, but they didn’t have an understanding that there was an application for retail. This let them see how we can really transform a retail space with audio, video and lighting, and create a total solution that makes a retail store become a destination venue.

[DG]: Some people may think that CES is not an obvious choice for Professional Solutions to go, but everyone we spoke to feels that it was a big success. Do you agree with that, and why do you feel that it was so successful?

[LR]: Absolutely, it was a huge success. Having us sit right across from the Lifestyle section of the booth really worked. Customers came across to us just to see the latest toys from HARMAN, and left realizing that HARMAN can actually help them create an environment and a showcase for their products. They saw how we drive customers into the store through an interactive kiosk or through the lighting inside. They saw what we did inside the store with listening stations, etc. Our customers got it as soon as they came into the booth.

[DG]: So where are you going next? Where are we going to be showcasing retail in the next coming months?

[LR]: From January 26 to February 4, 2017, we’re going to be at NOVI Tech Days. That’s our own show put on by HARMAN Connected Car in our Novi, MI office. All of our major car manufacturers will be there. We’ll have a booth there with a mini car inside it. This booth will focus specifically on what an auto showroom or experience center using HARMAN technology can look like. We’re really excited to show them what’s possible.

A big thanks to Lisa Ross for speaking with us! It’s exciting to hear about all the exciting ways retailers can leverage HARMAN technologies to create immersive and engaging environments. Do you have experience with connected retail? Share your insights in the comments.