Hybrid shops will merge the online and offline worlds
The concept store operated by the Kenneth Cole fashion brand in New York shows how the online and offline worlds can be linked in a variety of ways. Customers can examine the range not just on the rail but also on numerous screens where they can get virtual advice. Digital mirrors let them take selfies without having to strain their arms. Anybody who wants to can even put together several selfies in an animated GIF. Customers trying on clothes can also see how they would look in different colours in the digital mirror. The concept store also brings the principle of permanent availability to the world of over-the-counter stores. Regular customers can also send an SMS saying they wish to shop outside normal opening hours. They will then be given a 3-hour block in which they can access the store. The Kenneth Cole concept store is adding another dimension to the similarly equipped concept stores operated by other brands with this innovative offering.
It must be expected that the over-the-counter retail trade will carry out more experiments involving hybrid shopping concepts. Most of these experiments will probably only serve to point the way but economically viable and successful approaches will be adopted more widely. Flexible omni-channel ordering and delivery alternatives have now become widespread.
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