Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Retailconcepts: the integration of on and offline with retail experiences

I visited London the past few days. Only 45 minutes of flying but a totally different retail landscape than here in the Netherlands. Much nicer actually.
Luckily there was at least some Dutch influence that I noticed :)

Some (important) Dutch influence in the London retail and restaurant market, luckily :)
Below just a few pictures from a few shops I visited. Shopping can be nice!

Made.com the interesting and very nice British furniture retailer that started in 2010 and is one of the high growth technology companies in the UK. I follow them online now for a while and I think they are doing a great job. So when I was walking through SoHo in London, I noticed their brick and mortar flagship store and I decided to take a look.

It is always fun to visit shops from companies that started online and now go offline. Interesting to see how they mix on-and offline.
And Made.com did a very nice job!

As you enter the store you will find a desk where you can grab a tablet that you can use to get extra information at the articles displayed. Simply touch the tablet at everywhere were you see the "+" sign and you get extra information. To get the device working, you have to enter your e-mail adress. I did not see they asked for an e-mail opt-in at this stage (I would have done that), but you got to register with e-mail. (why not social sign ons as well?).

And I suggest to write at this desk, where you grab your tablet (see picture below) also that once returned, the device resets automatically, so no personal details are available at the devices and someone else is free to use.

Grab your tablet to connect on and offline in Made.com's shop in SoHo

After the sign on (submitting your e-mail adress) you will see this screen as shown below. The device explains how it works. 
You can e-mail your favorite products to yourself, so you can buy then online at a later stage or further on in the shop (see below). 
I am curious if they also connect my flagship store "touch" behaviour to their website product display.
So meaning that if I login online at a later stage at the made.com webshop, they will show me the products that I "touched" in the shop, but I could not test that correctly. Would be an idea though. Or to use it in e-mail marketing for example or in social marketing.

The made.com tablet you can use to get additional information about the products shown in their brick and mortar store and this is how they connect on and offline.


This is how the spots look like, where you can touch the tablet. Every product that is displayed has such a spot where you can connect with your tablet.

+ Marks the spot for Made.Com's connection between on and offline
And once touched (I had to touch 3 times) but once or twice or three time touch, the device starts with all information about the product displayed.
Additional products are displayed at "virtual walls". You see this everywhere in their shop.

What I really like from made.com is their online "unboxed" section. Customers that have made.com products can display them at a special community. So you can see how the products look like at other customers. Customers can connect to each other via this platform. Perfect!  You can comment and even look for customers with made.com products near your house! They also advertise this in their flagship store and encourage to be social active with made.com in their shop. It builds trust! I did not see it, but maybe nice to display a (live) carroussel of the user generated content from their community in their brick and mortar shop. 


Also in the made.com shop, you can order the products you saw or "touched" , directly via the desktop yourself.

As I walked on in London I suddenly spotted this sign, with "Boxpark Pop up Mall". I saw a popup mall in Las Vegas recently, and I was very enthousiastic about that concept, so I decided to walk on....




Follow the sign!

I lost my way a little bit, but it is really close when you see this tube train on a roof :

I do not know why this tube train is at the roof as they normally run underground, but it is close to the boxpark pop up mall

Yes, there it is! Just around the corner!


There at the corner, Boxpark starts. It basically is a bunch of containers on top of each other. At the first level there are all kind of pop up restaurants. From Thai, to British food to Chinese food, everything is available and you see mini, mini restaurants in a container. Sometimes there are small terraces as well available.

As you see, containers with pop up restaurants at the first floor.

Also Boxpark encourages people to be social active.


And if you go down to street level you will find all kind of  "containers" from existing brands as GAP to startup company's and product try out companies. It is possible to rent a "container" only for a few months as well. For more information see: http://www.boxpark.co.uk/


Yes, and I bought something at BoxPark, in a "gift shop container" and it is....

This is what I bought at Boxpark :)

I also visited the "Camden Town" area. What a nice area! So many markets, shops, restaurants, bar's and a very special scene. 

Camden Town in London
Near Stables market, a really huge market, there is a shop called "cyberdog". This shop sells all kinds of futuristic and neon like products. They combine fun and experience with shopping. I had to stand in line before I could enter the shop. Inside the shop they play rave music as loud as in a discotheque. They even have dancers inside. 
I was not allowed to take pictures or movies, but plenty of them can be fond at the web. I managed to take one picture, where you see the dancers at top and just shopping products everywhere. This is how you make shopping an experience! It was so busy inside! People come here for the experience and in the end to buy something.


I bought this product :) Astronaut food..(haven't tasted it yet, but you can keep it fresh for years and (light) years...so I have some time before I have to eat it.

Astronaut food, that can be bought in Cyberdog Shop in Camden, London
And when I sat down for a beer at a local bar in Camden, called "Cuban Bar", I wanted to check my email, so I connected to their WiFi. It went smoothly. You see this in many bar's and restaurants nowadays and I use it a lot. But I never got an e-mail afterwards, telling to review my experience in the bar. So simple, I di not understand why not more restaurants and bars work like this.


Another shop that uses physical shop experiences to improve the brand reputation, to encourage social sharing and to sell is M&M's world at Leicester Square. 4 floors of only M&M's experiences. To be honest, I do not even like chocolate! But almost I would have tried again to taste chocolate, after such a nice experience. 4 floors of fun!

The store is setup in a way that products are combined with experiences. I for example have never seen people walk with a selfie stick in a store where they record movies of walking in the store. 
Well, I saw it here. This girl was just walking around and recording herself and others in the store.


And suddenly there is a machine inside the shop, where you can discover your M en M. You stand at a certain place the machine starts talking and scanning and gives you your MenM that fits you! 
What I would have added, if I was the M&M store, I would have made the machine like this that you can take a picture from you and "your m&m" and share it at social media. But the machine at itself was already fun. People were lining up to do the scanning.


I know you can also personalise M&M as a gift via the web. I also ordered it once. But in this shop they have a big machine where you can directly personalise our M&M's with the text you want.


They also sell a really expensive M&M coat :)


And people take pictures everywhere in this store.This must be shared massively online, that attracts customers and improves the brand experience.

People are lining up to take a picture of a M&M

4 level's of (chocolate) fun
And when I was walking back to SoHo, I noticed this snackbar/restaurant:


And I realised that sometimes, only the name of a company can be marketing. This is a funny name. And I support fun and creativity, so I bought a currywurst here. 
I also realised that Germans with humour do exist :)
Great shop, great food! I bought the currywurst with pommes.

A few months earlier, also in London,  I visited "Pro Direct" a typical online shop, that now also starts offline.



It is just a small shop, but when you enter, you enter a digital world. Screens everywhere. And you browse through the collection yourself and see "models" wearing the clothes you select.
It looks more or less like this:


I recorded a short movie as well about me browsing some soccer clothes 


I think a few nice examples of on and offline integration and experiences in retail.
Important for all marketers, as it will have influence at the pure online players as well, as offline starts to move towards online.

To finish this post, I was in Bucharest a few months ago. I noticed a pub there and I decided to enter. It was during the day (no I am not an alcoholic, but it was cold). When I entered the pub, I saw inside the pub they sold clothes as well. Some kind of small market. So imagine the combination. Food, Drinks, Music, Clothes. Must appeal customers both man and woman :)


Retailconcept: this I saw in Bucharest, pub and clothes. Good for man and woman! :)

2 comments:

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