AP Lazer® CEO Tong Li sees retail revolution tied to meeting people’s emotional needs through product personalization
LANSING, Mich., January 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — A chance encounter while shopping at Crate & Barrel in Novi, Mich., led to an unexpected opportunity for the entrepreneur Nicole Smith, owner of Cutting Edge Lazer Engraving. After striking up a conversation with a store manager, Smith was asked to set up her AP Lazer gear in-store during the 2021 holiday shopping season to provide free engraving on customer purchases. The Crate & Barrel store pre-promoted these special events and compensated the home engraving business.
Engraving in-stock items avoids global logistics hassles, boosts sales and makes the shopping experience memorable.
“Our customers and sales associates were really engaged,” said Crate & Barrel store manager Jennifer Lander. “There was a real element of fun and satisfaction in helping our guests select items and have their unique gifts engraved in our store.”
It was a winning collaboration for Crate & Barrel, Cutting Edge Lazer Engraving and store shoppers.
“People literally cried as they watched the holiday ornaments, cutting boards, trays, wine glasses and other items they bought turn into priceless keepsakes right before their eyes,” said Smith, who operates her business. with her husband, Brandon. “They knew these thoughtful gifts would touch people’s hearts and be treasured.”
The Crate & Barrel store promotions have been so successful that engraving events continue into 2022. Tong Li, Founder, CEO and inventor of AP Lazer’s patented large-format, open-base laser machine systems that can engrave almost any items on store shelves, believes retailers who embrace what he calls “the emotional marketplace” will be at the forefront of an emerging retail revolution.
“Once our basic physical needs for food, shelter, and security are met, as documented by a renowned psychologist, Abraham Maslow, our emotional needs for connection, happiness, affection, and giving and receiving love come first,” Li said. “Huge opportunities exist for brick-and-mortar retailers who understand this. When a meaningful sentiment is engraved on everyday products, they become treasured keepsakes because they elicit warm feelings and emotions.”
In its article The Rise of Personalized Products in Retail, Shopkeep’s Yamarie Grullon writes, “Personalization offers consumers an engaging and cost-effective way to create an emotional connection with a particular product or brand, while retailers benefit from increased customer loyalty and satisfaction.” Consumer research on retail trends conducted by Deloitte and others over the past decade confirms that consumers are happy to pay more for personalized products that increase their income, while personalized items drive conversations and free word of mouth promotion.
Li said the timing couldn’t be better for creative marketers to form partnerships with local laser engravers to combat huge hurdles, like the pandemic’s great quit retail trend, while opening up a promising path.
“AP Lazer contractors across the United States can serve as in-house engravers for retailers struggling to find workers, without the overhead of hiring, training and managing an employee,” said said Li. “In-stock items can be engraved, avoiding global logistics hassles, and revenue increased without adding inventory. Perhaps most importantly, true relationships and competitive advantage can be created by offering buyers what online retail giants can’t: high, personalized contact – a memorable customer experience.”
Another AP Lazer contractor, Bonnie Gilbert by Treblig Design in Port Huron, Mich. reached out to nearby retailers when COVID-19 first hit in 2020 and craft shows were canceled. She partnered with a local hair salon, alterations shop, men’s clothing store, and coffee shop, etching their products and selling hers, increasing everyone’s income.
“The future of retail lies in adding meaning to merchandise and humanity to the shopping experience,” Li said.
Link to photos here: (photo credit AP Lazer)
About AP Lazer®
Based at Lansing, Mich., AP Lazer is a private designer and manufacturer of patented open architecture CNC laser machines that engrave and cut a wide variety of materials and objects of all sizes. AP Lazer provides technical support 24/7, 365 days a year. Its customers are located across the United States and on six continents. For more information, visit www.APLazer.com.
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