Making Brick And Mortar Stores Seem More Digital

from the analog-merging-with-digital... dept

Brick and mortar retailers are waking up to the fact that they're competing against online retailers, and are now doing plenty of things to try to make the in-store shopping experience better or to merge the two, in yet another example of how the analog and digital worlds are merging. The latest can be seen in plans by Circuit City to really change the way they handle selling products to customers. On the web side, they want to go beyond "buy online, pickup at the store" (which they already offer) to "buy online, have a Circuit City employee, wearing Circuit City clothes in a Circuit City van deliver the product to you." Even more interesting, though, is the idea of handing out a set of headphones to every customers who walks in the store that tracks their locations and feeds them additional info about products, offers special promotions and can connect users to a live sales representative. That's right, rather than having an in-store employee tapping you on the shoulder to see if you found everything you were looking for, that sales person may be completely virtual or possibly based in a call center halfway around the world. Obviously, if you don't want that, it's pretty simple to agree not to put the headphones on at all. What's more interesting, though, is to take this concept one step further. Why do you need Circuit City's headphones? Why not do it over your mobile phone, and have it be sales people at a different store with offers to entice you to buy from them instead. Or, even, a comparison shopping service that can tell you that if you leave the Circuit City right now and go to Best Buy down the street, they'll promise you a 10% discount on that TV you're looking at. Obviously, the store owners won't like the idea of a "competitive" sales person in the store with them, but it's hard to see how they'll ban all mobile phones in their stores without losing a lot of customers.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    nonuser, 18 Jan 2005 @ 7:41pm

    chain store jockey

    My local Virgin record store has a disc jockey who calls attention to featured items in between music cuts, sort of a twenty-something version of "Attention Kmart shoppers". Now that gets expensive but maybe Circuit City could have one guy for the entire chain - but instead of talking up displays in one particular store, he can talk about sales trends as they happen in real time, like "Looks like the new LG phones are moving in our Manhattan stores. Our 43rd street store sold twelve of them in the last two hours, better than any other phone. Maybe that's because they allow video chat AND come in a slick clamshell package..."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ed, 19 Jan 2005 @ 8:47am

    Circuit City Delivery Vans

    ...because Webvan.com was such a roaring success.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      haig, 19 Jan 2005 @ 1:19pm

      Re: Circuit City Delivery Vans

      webvan was a miserable failure because they tried using a centralized hub-and-spoke distribution with one central warehouse per large area and vans delivering from their to each resident.

      An alternative to this is being done by incumbent shopping chains with success because they don't need to spend obscene amounts of money creating these super distribution warehouses, they simply use the same store people shop at as mini warehouses and deliver locally.

      Circuit City is following suit. Whether it's a huge success or just another incentive, if it helps why not.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Jan 2005 @ 4:41pm

        Re: Circuit City Delivery Vans

        Anyone ever heard of UPS ?
        They can deliver just about anything from any store anytime.

        This story is lame and so are these new marketing ideas.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    sesss, 29 Nov 2006 @ 6:40am

    fg

    ur shite

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Advertisment

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Loading...
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.