Stationary commerce will change

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Stationary commerce will change

Boundaries blur

As competition continues to grow, the boundaries between traditional retail and other industries are blurring. Pharmacies and one-euro shops now sell everything from sweets to fresh products; Traditional traders such as Nordstrom, Arnabu and Urban Outfitters rely on their own restaurants and cafés, while some companies, such as West Elm and Shinola, are opening their own hotels.

Shinoa is a shop with luxury items for ladies and gents, which also have a hotel which fits the style of the products to provide a complete lifestyle package.

But why do long-established traders dare to venture into unknown territory? Because they want to keep customers in their stores longer, surrounded by immediately available branded goods. These cross-industry experiments will increase significantly in the future.

Nordstrom is an online fashion shop. The same company also has a chain of lunch restaurants under the same name, featured on the same website on which the fashion is offered.


With the help of modern technologies today anyone can become a dealer. The easier it is to sell directly to consumers, the more manufacturers and wholesalers will break up with the middleman. Just think of Google Shopping with over a billion products on offer; On-line trading platforms such as Etsy, eBay, Craigslist and Amazon are sold by individuals and retailers worldwide.

This direct selling is a smart step for manufacturers: they can build relationships with their customers and collect data from them, in order to improve their own products. For brick and mortar stores, however, these are bad news in the battle for the same markets.


The number of small shops has increased enormously in recent years: former big names like Wal-Mart, Whole Foods and Sears closed their huge warehouses and opened smaller shops. The trend is moving away from larger and larger warehouses to small and flexible warehouses.


Amazon is constantly trying to conquer the stationery trade, most recently in the form of small “pop-up stores”. These stores are not ephemera but part of a long-term strategy that companies like Lidl, Tesco and IKEA are pursuing with their “pop-up restaurants”.

Let’s have fun

In order to meet the needs of customers for ever new experience, established shopping centers are turning into entertainment centers.

Macy’s cooperates e.g. with an organizer to present seemingly improvised, dance sessions in his stores.

To touch

Unlike growing online commerce, stationary stores are places where products can be experienced. For example, Samsung’s first flagship store in New York (Samsung 837) was designed just to let visitors try the latest products. If you want to buy them, you have to do this online.

Similarly, Google’s “Experience Store,” a store where you can get a taste of tomorrow’s technology and try out the latest gadgets, from VR headset to smart home devices.

The devices can be touched and tested; however, if you want to buy something, you can only do it online through your mobile device.

Take London’s House of Vans, which made a concrete commitment to counterculture when it opened a custom BMX and skate park in the bottom of its flagship store. This wasn’t an afterthought: it was a dedicated effort to give customers a place to do what they love.

House of Vans London: Skatepark Re-opening | House of Vans | Vans
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This same upleveling of experience is happening digitally. Victoria’s Secret’s millennial-targeted PINK Nation app is a social media network that offers games, prizes and of course, discounts and promotions.

But what sets it apart are on-campus events that move the socializing offline and create opportunities at colleges and universities for members to forge real-world connections. The key here is that these experiences are incredibly authentic—not cheap marketing tactics. They add meaning and value for the customer.


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