The Digital Storefront Revolution

Brands look for ways to merge offline and online worlds into a unified and innovative shopping experience

The store is increasingly tapping into e-commerce and online marketing techniques to serve digital-savvy consumers. The digital storefront is another evidence of the line-blurring. In addition to attracting traffic into the store, it can also allow consumers to browse and buy with the convenience they are used to online. This further empowers the customer, who can choose whether to enter the shop or not.

At present, only the most digitally advanced and integrated brands can deliver such level of shopping experience. For now, most retailers only turn to the digital storefront for differentiation and traffic acquisition purposes. Yet, as they shape-up and integrate their multichannel capabilities, the potential behind this new shopping interface is massive.

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Store Digitizing in the UAE

Global and local brands in the UAE are progressively introducing digital innovation into shopping malls

If brands in the UAE largely benefit from the strong mall traffic, they still need to differentiate from competition. This is what Hollister, the Abercrombie & Fitch’s brand, has successfully achieved in Dubai upon opening its first point of sale in the Middle East, at Mall of the Emirates.

By covering the storefront of its new outlet with a giant digital wall displaying a Californian beachfront, the retailer has immediately achieved massive brand awareness. Hiding what lies inside the store behind a digital storefront, in a darkish atmosphere, created an exclusive club environment that fosters consumers’ curiosity. The store has encountered significant traffic since its opening earlier this year.

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Fashion and beauty brands increasingly digitize their stores

From Fashion to Beauty, consumers increasingly expect total brand experiences

To meet these expectations, brands need to complement the physical product experience with new digital shopping tools. By digitizing the store, retailers can deliver shopping experiences aligned with the digital reflexes of today’s connected consumers.

Successfully introducing digital technology that seamlessly enhances the in-store customer experience is a sheer challenge. In addition to requiring in-depth understanding of target customers’ needs, pain points and expectations, it should translate into tangible sales performance.

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The new In-Store Experience

The role of the store is being reinvented to showcase, entertain and deliver a personalized experience through customer centricity and digital technology

The rise of the connected consumer and e-commerce is profoundly reshaping consumer expectations and behavior.
To remain relevant, retail and telecom are reinventing the role of their stores in the customer journey, turning them into entertaining shopping destinations.
New breeds of “flagship stores” and “stores of the future” have therefore emerged, making extensive use of digital technology to deliver unique brand experiences. Often articulated around lifestyle, they aim at reinventing the shopping experience by showcasing, entertaining and personalizing interactions.

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Turning Showrooming into an opportunity

Showrooming, a growing threat for the store

Showrooming (consumers going into a physical store to see a product and then purchasing it online at a better price) is often seen as brick & mortar retailers’ number one enemy. This phenomenon concerns 72% of US shoppers according to Accenture.

In addition to preparing their purchase online, today’s connected consumers increasingly use their mobiles to compare pricing when in store. In 2012, 53% of US in-store mobile users stated they already abandoned a purchase in store as a result of using their mobile, either to go purchase online (51%) or at a competitor’s store (38%).

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