Since the advent of online shopping, customers have been staying away from brick-and-mortar stores: after all, why go to the trouble of going into an actual shop when you can buy what you want with just a few clicks? Consequently, retailers are having to be more imaginative to draw customers back into their stores and turn a shopping trip into a unique experience. One way of doing this is via an exciting, state-of-the-art shop window, which proved a success for French ballet shoe company Repetto, as Project Manager Pascal Nessim explains.
Simple tools to attract customers
“Internet is revolutionising the customer relationship: customers aren’t shopping at brick-and-mortar stores as much as they used to,” says Nessim. “So retailers have to find new ways of attracting traffic – for example, an interactive shop window. The aim is to get the attention of people as they walk past the shop and get them to come in.”
And that doesn’t mean juggling with a host of different gadgets. As Pascal Nessim explains: “The technology behind the interactive window is pretty basic.” An overhead projector projects five ballet scenes onto a giant screen. Passers-by can then interact with them: by waving their arms in front of the screens, they can then go from one video to the next. Original and easy-to-use, the window made quite an impact on shoppers.
“It was an opportunity for the brand to present its products in a lively way with an interactive, audio-visual approach. That changes everything.” A simple concept and a dynamic new presentation.
Innovation to boost brand image
“The challenge for a historic brand like Repetto is keeping up with the times.” But the issue is to use new technologies whilst remaining faithful to the traditional spirit of the core brand identity, i.e. classical ballet.
Such infrastructure in the shop therefore has to be simple to use and not too obtrusive: it’s vital to show that new technologies don’t undermine the traditional brand. But, as Nessim explains, “the staff were very receptive to the idea.”
And Repetto soon saw the benefits of implementing the window…
An increase in store traffic
So how to ensure that such technology makes the store the centre of attention? Pascal Nessim stresses that, for such an innovative project, “It was essential to choose the right moment.”
In the case of the Repetto shop, the right moment was when a number of events were going on: first and foremost, it was Fashion Week, an event which drew the leading figures of the fashion world to Paris. Meanwhile, the film Black Swan came out, which put ballet on the map, and then there was the advent of motion sensors in video game consoles.
“All these factors meant the general public was more receptive to this new retail trend,” says Nessim. “It was the first time that a brand used Kinect for a retail project, and it had a hugely positive impact in terms of brand image. People were talking about it everywhere.”
The shop also had record levels of traffic during the week they launched the window:
“It was a way of creating an event to make the brand a talking point.”
The project thus achieved its dual objectives of drawing more people in off the street and into the store, and bringing the brand to the attention to a wider audience.
Only just the beginning
The interactive window was a turning point in the history of retail and paved the way for other technologies for retailers.
“It was how it all started; now digital technology is transforming stores and brands have to keep up,” says Pascal Nessim. “Even if they have some reservations, they can adapt to the digital age and benefit from its full potential to attract customers and offer them new experiences and services.”
In clothes shops, for example, the customer experience can be tailored to suit each individual:
“You can go into a shop, try on clothes but order them via the website and be delivered at home. Or vive-versa: you can select items online then go to the physical store to try them on and make your purchase. Another major retail trend is interactivity, for example with “smart” mirrors which suggest other items of clothing when you’re trying clothes on in the changing rooms.”
But what if customer aren’t ready for this technology?
“That’s what ‘Digital For All, Now’ is about,” assures Pascal Nessim. “There’s no segregation or elitism anymore: digital is for everyone, not just technophiles. It’s up to retailers now to adapt and create new ways of consuming.”