Digital Transformation

How stores can make shopping fun again through digital?

76% of purchasing decisions are made in-store (from Popai study in 2012). Nevertheless, according to the Digital Transformation Institute of Capgemini in 2017, “81% of retail executives believe a physical store to be important, while only 45% of consumers agree”: 21st shopping behaviors have changed drastically; customers are waiting for a real value by visiting physically a store. From mirror contacting your friends to tablets enabling the customer to choose the perfect shoes fitting with your outfit; more and more companies integrate digital displays in-store to seduce their customers. These innovations are currently being implemented progressively into retail.

Point of sale advertising is just as much an efficient communication as a powerful support to engage with customers. But technology is useful when customers and employees can use it to enhance collaboration.

In France, 58% of stores have screens, whose 33% propose programmed content, and 72% of these stores using screens to enrich customer experience. Indeed, we highlight today that screens have another usage in-store; in a more basic way, those are putted in store front or near cash registers to inform, for example, the customer on the waiting time or the weather forecasting. Those screens are often connected to an internet network which mean that managers can update the content where and whenever they want to: it is enabling stores to be up to date, almost, instantaneously. Moreover, this approach gives the opportunity to salesperson to strengthen their commercial arguments with the help of connected tools.

Certain brands go further in the digital implementation in-store, to become a reference.

Adidas highlighted that 60% of potential customers were leaving the store without buying any shoes. After having install touch walls in London and Paris in 2011, Adidas renews its experience in 2014 in USA by setting up digital interactive screens as advertising in 28 Foot Locker across the country. The screen gives access to the brand’s catalogs: a wide range of products that the customer can observe from every angle. It provides product information, performance features, and allows you to view the availability of items in stores and online. Part of attracting the customer to Adidas section in-store, thanks to potential customers researches on the digital screens, Adidas can collect data in order to sharpen their future shoes collections.

Have you heard about a digital mirror? The American luxury brand Rebecca Minkoff has created an immersive and digitally driven-experience. In each stores of the country, the brand has installed interactive mirrors in each fitting rooms which enable ladies to browse for other products, or simply another size. Moreover, as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the mirror speaks: if the customer needs to have an advice for choosing a tee-shirt fitting with the pant, Rebecca will give her a personal recommendation. By mixing the unique customer centric approach of luxury brands and customers’ daily use of digital, Rebecca Minkoff has boost its sales: 30% of customers were requesting for additional items.

According to Shopper Track data for November/December 2015 cited in Wall Street Journal, as store visits have decreased by 53% between 2012 and 2016, why not bring the store into homes? IKEA did it with augmented reality.

Launched in 2013, Ikea uses augmented reality to help potential customer to envisage a chosen Ikea furniture at home, via an app named Ikea Place. From the Klippan coach in their own living room or the Kviknek wardrobe in their bedroom, to the perennial plant in the kitchen, the user will be able to see how it looks like in their own home. The app fit with the approach “try before you buy”. At the start, the user had to place the catalog on the floor at the place he would like to foresee the chosen product. Today, the usage is very simple: the user scans the floor of the room, the app automatically proposed products fitting with the room dimensions (98% of accuracy), than the user selects the product he would like to try and have. Through the years, Ikea has improved its app by enhancing the products’ details by allowing the user to see the fabric texture, so to ease purchasing decision.


Indeed, using digital technology, from basic digital screens to augmented reality, within customer journey in-store becomes more personalized which is compatible with today’s current customer needs. Amazon took a step ahead by implementing physical stores, entirely digital, in USA with Amazon Go.


However, according to the Digital Transformation Institute of Capgemini “54% of retail executives think the digitization of physical stores is happening too slow”. Three reasons are highlighted:

  1. The return on investment is difficult to measure;
  2. Store managers or associates are not yet trained to implement digital initiatives into their stores, so they can not promoting it;
  3. Digital tools in-store require Wi-Fi and/or data integration that today are not generalized.  

Apple and Google, with, respectively, ARKit and ARCore, are facilitating and enabling the change in retail stores. According to Digital Bridge from a research in September 2017, 74% of consumers are now expecting augmented reality experience. In addition to make the shopping fun again, on the business side, technology encourages the user to click on the call-to-action button, ‘purchasing’. Amazon took a step ahead by implementing physical stores, entirely digital, in USA with Amazon Go; but are the customer ready to loose human collaboration in-store?



About the author



Currently working at Publicis Conseil as account executive junior manager for Orange International; I'm developing advertising campaigns (TV, print, radio & digital) for Europe and Africa.

Otherwise, I love to go to the cinema and cook.