AUNT EMMA STRIKES BACK! Online pure-players are revolutionising the in-store experience

Tante Emma strikes back
Source: fotolia – Edit: dotSource

Depending on which group you belong to, stationery retail is dying or is long dead. As often as these statements are repeated, they don’t become true. Although it’s difficult to find even one example of a purely offline player from small boutiques, even purely online players are becoming rarer.

Physical locations, whether a pop-up store, showroom, or full-fledged flagship, is starting to gain importance again. Especially as marketing and service channels. It is noteworthy, however, that these shops hardly remember the miserable retailing industry of the last millennium. It’s just the opposite. New stores can merge online and offline experiences and teach tradition chain stores a thing or two about what a successful omnichannel scenario can look like.

For example, Amazon, Shoepassion, mymuesli, Cyberport, and Mister Spex. The latter has now six branches throughout Germany, which are more reminiscent of an Apple store for glasses than an optician. The 10th branch will open next in Münster, Germany. Once again, Mister Spex sets an example and puts a lot of pressure on the competition, whose online experience is often limited to making appointments at a physical location.

Successfully linking offline and online business is a technological feat. From integrating a POS system to dynamic RFID price tags and smart mirrors to QR codes, to find product alternatives or to pack the product you want on-site into the digital shopping cart for delivery. The complexity of the customer journey for merchants is increasing and posing major challenges to merchandise management and warehousing.

Modern locations are digital, intelligent, and unique. They offer value to the customer through a skilful combination of staff and technology, that each channel could not reach by itself. For example, Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, and Adidas have understood this as well.

Experience counts

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