Technology retailer Maplin has seen a double-digit sales increases from a new trial store format in created by design group 20.20, and has earmarked a further six branches to be converted to the new style after its successful launch in Cambridge.
Maplin identified a number of issues it wanted to address in the new store, including a perception among shoppers that the store was for electronics hobbyists which put off some potential customers.
The retailer called for a smart store to drive interaction with customers, maintaining its appeal to existing users of the chain while recruiting a new generation of shopper. Smart and connected home technology was to be a key driver to engage new customers, with the store offering advice and solutions on how to make the most of the diverse products available.
20.20’s research identified that advice in the smart home technology market is currently being offered by individual brands, rather than by retailers. This makes it hard for end users to understand how different products might work together. “This insight created an opportunity where Maplin could target an already active customer base and take ownership of the sector by enhancing the expertise of their in-store colleagues, to create a new omni-channel store experience,” said 20.20 managing director, Jim Thompson.
The central area of the store has been used for a Smart Life hub area, identified by a distinctive LED lighting feature. Products are displayed on open tables so that customers can experiment with them and experience the benefits they offer. Tablets allow them to explore product ranges while expert staff are on hand to provide more detailed advice.
A consultation space allows for in-depth discussions of to arrange home audits and installation services.
An interactive table forms a key part of the display, showing how different devices link together and how that integration can create a fully integrated Smart Home.
A new in-store communications system has been introduced, enhancing product stories through graphics, tablets and traditional P-O-P displays. The store seeks to engage customers at an emotional level by helping them integrate new technology into their home.
20.20 design lead Hollie Down said the radical new concept store will change the way customers shop and make Maplin the destination retailer for smart home technology. “We have created a place where today’s customers can understand and engage with exciting new products and interact with friendly, knowledgeable store colleagues to discover and purchase the smart devices they need – whether they want a safer home, a more connected space, or just to be at the forefront of technology,” she said. “Smart products are still relatively new, and many customers haven’t had the chance to try them out. The Cambridge store has been designed to offer a real omni-channel experience, bridging the gap between the physical store and Maplin’s new online offering, which will match the store language.”
Siobahn Fitzpatrick confirmed sales in the Cambridge store have seen double digit increases, with smart home sales up by 130%.
Hear what Maplin marketing and multichannel director Siobhan Fitzpatrick has to say about the project in Retail Design World’s first podcast. Fitzpatrick is joined by 20.20 directors Jim Thompson and Hollie Down to discuss the project with Retail Design World editor Matthew Valentine.