Showing posts with label Store Design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Store Design. Show all posts

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Are you ready to change the way you shop!

I have been writing about the disruption in the way people shop for some time now. Technology like Google Glass, HoloLens, 3D Printing, etc., is going to disrupt the retail environment as much as the internet did or maybe more so. It is only a matter of time before such devices become mainstream because of their price becoming affordable as also supporting software being available. Slowly but surely these changes are entering into the retail environment.
One of the key shopper expectations is to be able to purchase products which are different, unique and customized. Such purchases used to be quite expensive but no longer. Shoppers can now purchase 3D printed and customized products online from sites such as Shapeways, i.materialise, thingify, etc. Amazon has taken this to the next level and plans include a patented 3D printing truck which would come to your doorstep and print out the product! When 3D printers become affordable and mainstream, you could do the same at home, without even having to wait for that truck.

Alternatively you could drop into a store and get things made for you in a short while. This could be anything including a book being printed and bound in front of your eyes. This is what “Librairie des Puf”, a book store run by the publisher University Press of France does. They use an Espresso Book Machine which makes a book right in front of your eyes.

This machine used to be quite expensive but the prices have dropped over the years. Many smaller stores tried adopting a similar model but ran into issues when the publishers were not ready to share the content for instant printing of the books. Although eBooks are gaining ground, there are a significant number of readers who still prefer a hard copy one to read. With real estate costs rising and the overall spends on physical books becoming very niche, this trend of buying instantly printed books might be the future for the purchase of books.

As a shopper if you like online, the next level would be the virtual world and retail might cater to that preference too. Shopping in a holographic, 3D virtual store might take a bit longer but a step closer to this is what eBay is trying out in Australia. In association with Myers, a leading department store chain they are bring Virtual Reality stores to the shoppers, wherever they might be in the country.

This video would give you an idea of how the Virtual Reality shopping will be done in what is positioned as the world’s first Virtual Reality Department store.

An earlier post had detailed about how shopping might evolve in the coming years. The pace at which technology is evolving shows that the future is far closer than what was thought. Physical shopping, Online, Omni channel and it seems like it virtual reality shopping will soon encompass all these while redefining the retail space, business models, etc.

Are you ready to change the way you shop! 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Future of Retail; Bringing the store to you

Google Glasses coupled with 3D printing opened up a whole new dimension of shopping. I had written about this and a blue sky idea was that people might move away from purchasing products to buying 3D print designs and make their own products at home. This is very much a possibility in the future when the materials and composites required for various kinds of 3D printed products as also 3D printers become main stream and a part of most homes.

In the meantime there is another interesting technology which might merge the physical and online retail worlds to give you the best of both.

Shoppers opt for eTailing because of price, convenience and range. The competitive advantage of convenience is coupled by the fact that online retail is not constrained by physical store size. This enables them to offer a far wider and deeper range, called as a long tail of merchandise.

Shoppers also take the trouble of going to physical stores in order to browse and have a shopping experience which consists of “Touch, Feel and See”.

Imagine a scenario where you want to shop for a new dress and you sit back in your recliner and the store actually comes to you and enables you to shop. Is that not a fantastic combination of physical and online retail? 

Is that possible?

There are emerging technologies which enable visualization which has led to innovations like virtual dressing rooms. However, a new technology when coupled with visualization might actually bring the shop to you in the near future.

Microsoft has been working on a technology called HoloLens. 

Very simply put, this creates a 3 dimensional holographic view for the viewer and they can interact with the same. This video would give you a better idea about HoloLens.

How is this relevant and applicable to retail?

Retailers can leverage this platform to create 3 dimensional stores which can be accessed by the shopper in the comfort of their home. Creating such 3D stores is already possible and being used for a different purpose. Today there are several IT solutions that create a 3 dimensional rendering of the store and make is quite realistic. See the first video to get an idea about how 3D store would look like and the second video to see how Carrefour has used Google Street View to create a virtual shopping experience using kiosks and hand held devices. 

The logical next step would be to project this as a 3D immersive hologram in the coming years.

Combine these technologies and it would be possible to bring home the store. Add on technologies which are being worked on like delivering sensory influences such as smell and a feel of touch. Voila, your store will be as real as it can be and more importantly, exclusive to you.

In such a scenario, if you want to buy a new dress you might sit back and slip on your HoloLens device or some other similar device and the store comes alive before you. You can browse, use visualization to try on dresses, check out accessories, compare prices and much more.

As compared to printing products at home, bringing the store home seems much closer to reality. This is all the more pertinent in the current context where both physical and online retailers realize the need to be present on both platforms. A giant like Amazon has opened physical stores and several physicals stores are in the online space.

Bringing a store home is now possible and a retailer who gets their act together to make this happen might establish a strong competitive advantage, especially in India.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Does your trial room drive shoppers away?

One of the main attractions of purchasing apparels is trying out the various clothes and feeling good about it. This is an important component of apparel shopping and in India; this is often a group activity as shoppers tend to come in groups of either family members or friends. Trial rooms or fitting rooms are spaces inside the store which offer this experience and can actually make or break the sale.

These spaces should also be designed with care because of the impact on conversion and therefore sales. Ideally the mirrors should be of good quality which does not distort the reflection, lighting should be soft but bright enough, enough space inside and most definitely lots of hooks to hang the clothes.

However, this element of store design seems to be increasingly compromised by Retailers in various ways. Click here to read the article in ET Retail about whether the Retailer’s trial room is driving away shopper.

Although there are technological innovations which try to offer a virtual experience of trying on clothes, it cannot compare with the actual touch, feel and see experience of physically trying on the same. 

The video shows one such initiative which might attract shoppers for a while because of the novelty factor. However, I am not sure that this will end up replacing the physical trial/ fitting rooms. 

This is all the more reason why Retailers should pay special attention to making these spaces deliver a WOW experience to the shoppers.