It often feels at the moment like the online world is somehow completely separate from the real world. They way in which we shop, communicate, behave and connect differs and both worlds rarely meet.
Here are 3 really great examples of businesses using bridging this gap.
Fashion giant Net-A-Porter have included their LIVE application on the website for quite a few months. This cool gadget allows website visitors to see how people are interacting with the Net-A-Porter brand across the globe. When items are added to baskets, purchased or shared via social media this real-time window shares this information with website users.
Clearly innovative but the key here is that this tool is actually useful for the visitors, fashion can be tricky and this allows people to see first hand what is hot and what’s not.
web link. http://www.net-a-porter.com/live
Marks & Spencer.
I am sure we can all sympathise with the frustration of travelling to your favourite store only to find that the product and option that you have seen online in not available. Retailers have been including catalogues in their stores for many years, where you can flip through the pages at the customer services desk to place an in-store delivery for the item that you really wanted (think NEXT). But Marks & Spencer has taken this one step further.
By installing giant 32” interactive and transactional kiosks in-store, Marks & Spencer introduced a service which allows customers to experience women’s ranges from the larger flagship stores in the smaller stores. Previously customers would have had to physically visit the larger store or would have had to rely on that pesky customer service desk again. Specially trained style advisors complete the customer experience fully equipped with a “mini-kiosk” on their portable ipads.
House of Fraser
House of Fraser opened the world’s first internet only store in Aberdeen, In October 2011. As a virtual store the “shop” holds no stock what-so-ever, but instead offers customers an engaging brand experience, with iPads, free coffee and comfortable sofas all combined with a convenient local service without the presence of a full physical store. Customers can place orders via the iPads and applications provide, which offer a next day collection service from the store where customers can try on the products in the fitting rooms before completing the transaction.
I am loving this era of innovation and seeing retailers bring my favourite two activities (surfing and shopping) together in a very tangible form. I foresee many stores adopting a virtual approach with full product ranges being made available to order conveniently in-store with the added value of trained sales advisors.
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