If you ask me, Scotland and innovation are synonymous.
Our country’s long tradition of innovation and invention includes everything from television to penicillin, and telephones to the steam engine. When it comes to road transport alone, we have macadamised roads and invented the pneumatic tyre and the overhead valve engine. It’s difficult to deny that we have brought a lot a va-va vroom to the world.
At Merson Group, like so many innovators, we often look to nature for our inspiration. After all, isn’t mother nature the best designer out there? When I think of nature, I often go back to Darwin’s theory of evolution; the idea that you must adapt to survive, and adapt better than others if you want to thrive. It’s the same in retail because, put simply, we must adapt to stay one step ahead.
The retail environment as we knew it changed beyond recognition when Sir Tim Berners Lee brought us the world wide web. Since then, during the digital age, we’ve seen colossal changes and there’s no sign of that change slowing down. Now more than ever, innovation is essential if you want to not only survive but thrive.
Perhaps because we’ve evolved as a family business, Merson has innovation in our DNA. We were the first UK sign company to start charging for design rather than giving it away. It’s safe to say it worked, placing value on our design services and increasing our turnover to boot. We also designed a new form of LED lighting for Glasgow’s motorway gantries, reducing carbon emissions by hundreds of tons.
Innovation doesn’t stop at what we do; it’s also central to how we work too. Thanks to being early adopters of Microsoft Teams more than five years ago, we were prepared to meet the challenges of home-working well before the pandemic and we advised many of our clients on the transition to online work flow too.
Two years ago, we were ahead of the curve once again when we realised the enormous potential that VR held for our clients. For retailers such as Lotus Cars and Sainsburys, we saw how we could help them create appealing physical stores that became profit centres rather than cash drains.
I still remember vividly the first time I donned a pair of VR goggles back then. With wide eyes and wonder I cheered with excitement as my vision of the future transformed.
VR is changing the game. A 3D visual, especially one beautifully designed by our creatives, will show you in exquisite detail what your store will look like. But with a VR headset you’re totally immersed in a virtual world and get to experience it.
Through our technology, we help clients experience their new store, signage and branding in situ before their customers do. This is transformative because it helps our customers recognise what works best, fundamentally making it easier for their customers to buy. At the end of the day, what else is retail for?
Yet VR has even more benefits than helping sales. Our retail customers, customers such as Network Rail, love the fact that VR helps them try out significantly more options both faster and at a fraction of the cost. That keeps our work in the sector keep coming down the track.
With a click of a button you can change the wall colour, adjust the lighting, add more merchandise and so much more with VR. It’s an instantly visible way to make the customer journey better, enabling our clients to be agile and responsive whilst greatly reducing the amount of prototypes and pilot stores that they need to create. Not only is this great for retail, but because it uses less time, materials and energy, it’s more sustainable.
And sustainability – intrinsically linked to positive innovation – is another value we champion at Merson. Striving to do things differently and fundamentally better for everyone guides us as we play our own part in Scotland’s rich history of innovation.
So, if you fancy popping on some goggles to experience exciting, creative and – it has to be said – great fun innovation, get in touch.
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