Hybrid stores 2.0: bringing the digital world to retail shopping

Our July issue of MORE Vision discussed ways that consumers have incorporated digital media into their shopping experiences. This theme reappears in the September 2011 issue of Stratégie Internet (in French) – usually requiring a subscription but available for free in September – in a story on how a few pioneering retailers have responded to this trend by introducing tactile technology in their stores.

 Refresh your memory

Let’s start with a quick reminder of our first issue of MORE Vision. Through the expansion of digital media, consumers have started to influence retailing in new ways through four types of interaction:

  • Preparation: using social media and the Internet to prepare their store visit.
  • Rating: increasing consumer access to targeted ratings, recommendations and reviews.
  • Feedback: seeking advice and validation on purchasing decisions from friends, family and followers.
  • Sharing: engaging in the shopping experience with others through group-buying platforms.

Shopping in a time of digitalisation

According to Stratégie Internet, retailers have started to respond to this new trend in consumer behaviour, taking advantage of digital media to increase revenues and improve customer experience. Noticing that the majority of in-store customers had browsed the retailer’s website before visiting a store, some large French chains have begun to introduce digital technology into their stores. Whereas space constraints had previously prevented customers from having full access in stores, thanks to new technology, they now can access all the retailer’s products online.

Connect all

As Stratégie Internet puts it, these stores are becoming “connected.” Kiosks with interactive tactile devices allow customers to connect to the Internet, the store’s full product catalogue, centralised information systems, and product comparison tools. In Spain, Diesel even set up kiosks where shoppers could take pictures of themselves in Diesel clothes and share their new outfit with friends on Facebook.

You can try out some of these new technologies for yourself in the New Shopping Experience store at MAPIC in Cannes this November. The 35-square meter shop, located in the MORE Pavilion, is fully equipped with innovative technologies, including a multi‑touch, holographic, 3D-sound portal by Keedo and a “magic mirror” by E-fly for trying on virtual outfits.

From shops selling clothing and musical instruments to telephones and high-tech gadgets, retailers of all kinds have started to bring digital technology into their stores.

The result? French furniture chain But estimates that a trial kiosk initiative added an additional 1-2 percentage points to sales growth at the three stores that ran the trial. While most stores cannot yet cite a concrete return on investment, these retail trailblazers generally plan to refine and expand their interactive technology. It looks like this is just the beginning for “connected” shopping!

Want to learn more about the convergence of online and offline shopping in new 2.0 hybrid stores? Don’t miss trend forecaster Kate Ancketill’s presentation on future retail at MAPIC on Friday 18 November, 11.00.

Liked what you saw? Read MORE Vision 2!

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