Image : Tesco Homeplus Subway Virtual Store in South Korea
Tesco Homeplus Subway Virtual Store in South Korea – (Source : Flickr – Marco Derksen)

The era of omnichannel marketing is now launched for many physical merchants—and even pure players, as Amazon has opened physical stores. Digital opens new horizons for brands, restaurants and even SMEs to create innovative customer experience and become data-driven efficient. Brick-and-mortar are shrinking, but they are still struggling. 

Digital Is Already in Your Physical Stores

It is no secret to anybody: there are more and more people buying online. According to the FEVAD (the French professional federation for E-commerce), there were 850,000 more online buyers in France in 2016 and mobile purchases are surging.

Nevertheless, even with all the efforts that have been made by digital marketers (improvement of ergonomic layout, secure payment methods and additional services as reimbursement, guarantees or single day delivery) physical stores keep the higher conversion rate. It seems nothing can actually replace the compliments of some shop-assistants saying “how this clothes is fitting well on you” or the real sensation of holding the product in your hand.

However, new consumer behaviours have changed the physical retail game. Consumers have acquired E-commerce reflexes and it is all a pretext of looking at the phone and therefore at the competition.

Controlling New In-Store Consumer Behaviours with a New In-Store Marketing

The growing use of devices inside the store gave the impulse for a mere new sort of marketing techniques. Smartphones and the increasing use of wearable are valuable records on how consumers move, stay, look, interact or even buy inside the store.

More and more consumers are now comparing product prices and specifications with their smartphones while going shopping. The lack of information on the label is increasing the number of consumers looking for hidden malfunctions, defaults or simply experts and user reviews. This phenomenon has been reinforced with the growing number of tech-savvy consumers who know “exactly what they want” and become less receptive to the sales pitch of sellers who often occur to be casual users.

Physical retailers are now trying to take advantage of these new habits in order to entice consumers to stay in the store virtually, as well as physically.

Most of consumers that use their smartphones during shopping may transform into “smart-shoppers” using “digital coupons” that would appear on the screen of our cherish mobile device in proximity of a product.


It is already possible in the USA, where Bluetooth beacons have made their appearance for two years in brick-and-mortar stores. Beacons can add new contents for the customers that are glued to their smartphones,  such as providing product specifications, sales or even the possibility to immediately buy the product on its device. They precisely locate the visitors inside the store and collect data that can be helpful for the shop management: Where do people go at first? At which point do they stay? Which is the empty space in the shop? Where are the salespersons most of the time?

Coupled with E-commerce data, this information can be really powerful as it gives the possibility to create a personalized experience to customers inside the stores, like if they were in a proper E-commerce website, hence improving conversions.

Entertainment and Shopping Experience

In the 4.0 physical retail, entertainment and shopping experience are also playing a major role. The strong competition between physical retailers made them create new ways to display products or interact with the consumers.

The use of digital technologies is omnipresent: Huge flat screens,
dedicated applications, payment with mobile devices, order of a product that isn’t in the store. The goal is not only to entertain the consumers:  The experience they might have experimented on the website must continue in the retail store, and reciprocally.

A lot a brands are already applying retail digitalization inside their stores, and more will follow including the grocery in your street.

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