We've all seen and heard the recent headlines about the likes of Toys-R-Us, Maplins, BHS and even House of Fraser struggling to compete against Amazon, eBay and Google Shopping. There are of course lots of contributing factors as to why traditional retailers aren't able to challenge these digital giants as well as they might, including; overhead costs, rise of staffing bills (Minimum & Living wage & Workplace pension schemes) out-dated national tax laws and liabilities, legacy rental agreements and so on, and so on, and so on! But one advantage traditional retailers do have over their online competitors is the very bricks-and-mortar locations that they currently see as a millstone around their necks.
As we all know, shopping online (when done well) can be very efficient, satisfying and easy, but it is at best, perfunctory and utilitarian compared to the experience of physically shopping. Many people consider shopping as one of their leisure activities, pastimes and hobbies. So the challenge facing traditional retailers is to create a leisure experience again, make shopping a fun, exciting and interesting social occasion rather than a solitary task.
The videos below showcase a few ideas from around the world tackling this problem with some interesting solutions...
Alibaba's Fashion AI Concept Store, Hong Kong
Autobahn Motors Supercar Vending Machine, Singapore
KidZania At Westfield Shopping Centre, London
Whatever they do they better hurry up though, as the online retailers are starting to invade their traditional stomping ground with concept stores of their own. 'Amazon Go' is the latest development from the American online retailer, the theory looks compelling, although if this video is anything to go by, they might have been better off called it 'Amazon Shoplift'!