Showrooming has for some time now threatened to bring the curtain down on the high street as we know it, but rather than see technology as their nemesis, savvy retailers are looking to it to deliver a refreshed and more engaging shopper experience. Mark Broughton, strategy and planning partner at integrated agency Life, looks at ﬁve retailers making tech work for them.
Burberry is one of the key fashion players to have leapt on the possibilities of technology. Its online presence and imaginative digital marketing have been an important part in its revival as a brand. Physical retail can appear to be a separate experience with some brands, but bringing them together adds to the sum of their parts. Having created one of the most immersive online retail sites in Burberry.com, the brand took on the challenge of integrating its content with a new retail space on Regent Street. The store is home to a host of digital features, including products that trigger video screens, audiovisual experiences and digital mirrors where customers can snap themselves.
McQ (by Alexander McQueen)
With fashion shows and look books so important in selling high fashion, McQ has made the most of the technology available, creating an immersive experience to showcase its collections. Frames and objects can be placed on a large touchscreen table which activates videos and slideshows of items. Some store’s displays can feel aimless and unnecessary, but the use of physical objects on a digital screen creates a playful and purposeful display where the impressive technology surprises and delights shoppers
Audi City is a multi-sensory experience that allows car buyers to create and interact with virtual vehicles. With limited space in its Piccadilly showroom, but plenty of high net worth individuals in the vicinity, it created an immersive and personalised way to engage visitors. The main ﬂoor has touchscreens to browse the range, while ﬂoor to ceiling screens surround the room to view the cars full size. The showroom even has a top-end sound system to realistically convey the throaty roar of the engine.
Some sales are triggered days or even weeks after the interaction in-store, and digital can extend the shopping experience and act as a prompt. In a store that struggles to convert the high footfall on Oxford Street, Sunglass Hut has implemented cameras that enable social sharing for people trying glasses on. This fun and interactive feature encourages shoppers to try lots of glasses on and ﬁnd the right pair for them.
We’re all used to the trend of uploading pictures of our meals and sharing them using sites and apps such as Instagram. It’s often said that we eat ﬁrst with our eyes – and this is an idea that Oriental fusion restaurant Inamo takes to the limit. This fun, unique dining concept creates a social, novel experience that has applications beyond the hospitality industry. Visitors browse through menus that are projected onto tabletops, with dishes beamed directly on to the plates to bring the choice to life.
You can read more about digital innovation in the physical retail space in the latest issue of The Drum.
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