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The Fashion Retailscape. Innovations in Shopping.

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An interactive full-length mirror that allows your customers to browse through an endless collection of clothing that you offer and see immediately whether something fits them, including when they turn around, and which also allows them to send a picture quickly to their family and friends to hear what they think. This mirror is a technological development that is already possible and which is being introduced in fashion stores here and there. But how probable is it that this technological innovation will become a permanent feature of our shopping experience? How probable is it that you as a retailer will invest in such a mirror? And does such an innovation will save the physical store from becoming obsolete while more and more consumers are buying online? And who is that consumer anyway and what does he or she need? In The Fashion Retailscape developments in (fashion) retail are critically analysed and enriched with insights from retailers in Amsterdam.
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THE
FASHION
RETAILSCAPE:
INNOVATIONS
IN SHOPPING
Harry van Vliet
Anne Moes
Bernadette Schrandt
THE
FASHION
RETAILSCAPE:
INNOVATIONS
IN SHOPPING
Harry van Vliet
Anne Moes
Bernadette Schrandt
4 5
COLOPHON
Harry van Vliet, Anne Moes & Bernadette Schrandt
The Fashion Retailscape: Innovations in Shopping
Production Rose Leighton
Design UNDOG, Amsterdam
EPUB development Gottfried Haider (PublishingLab)
Copy-editor The Text Company
Printer Offsetdrukkerij Nuance, Zaandam
Publisher Amsterdam Creative Industries Publishing
Supported by Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (Hogeschool van Amsterdam),
PublishingLab
Cover image The byAMFI Statement Store in Amsterdam. Picture by Daan Verhorst
Photography Daan Verhorst (p. 8, 62, 68), Nom&Malc (p. 10), IntelFreePress (p. 24),
Cees Wouda (p. 38), Anne Moes (p. 48)
Contribution The example on page 20 is a contribution of Maaike Driessen
Contact Amsterdam Creative Industries Publishing, www.amsterdamcreativeindustries.com
EPUB and PDF editions of this publication are freely downloadable from our website,
www.publishinglab.nl/publications
This publication is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
4.0 International (CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0)
Amsterdam, June 2015
ISBN 978-94-92171-02-3 (print)
ISBN 978-94-92171-03-0 (ePub)
AMSTERDAM
CREA
TIVE INDUSTRIES
NETWORK
CONTENTS
Introduction: The Fashion Retailscape ............................................................................... 9
Looking Ahead ................................................................................................................... 11
Innovations on all Fronts ................................................................................................... 25
The Shopper ......................................................................................................................39
Cross-Media and Retail ....................................................................................................49
Conclusion .........................................................................................................................63
6 7
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We would like to thank our fellow researchers in the cross-media research group at the Amster-
dam University of Applied Sciences and the members of the project ‘Virtual expectations, Phys-
ical experiences’ for their comments and encouragement. We would especially like to thank
Jochen Riester for setting up the website www.fashionretailfuture.com and creating the Virtual
Tour 3D app. We thank Maaike Driessen for her contribution on fashion blogs, and Kjeld Groot,
Daisy Theuvenet, Mart Zonneveld and Wouter Meys for creating the app used in our beacon
research. Also, a sincere thank you to AMFI for the close collaboration, students as well as
lecturers, especially Sander Schellens and Marco Mossinkoff. Finally, we would like to thank the
byAMFI Statement Store and store manager Rosiane Kuijper for giving us the opportunity to turn
their store into a ‘pop-up fieldlab’.
8 9
INTRODUCTION:
THE FASHION RETAILSCAPE
An interactive full-length mirror that allows your customers to browse through an endless col-
lection of clothing that you offer and see immediately whether something fits them, including
when they turn around, and which also allows them to quickly send a picture to their family
and friends in order to hear what they think. This mirror is a technological development that is
already possible and which is being launched in various fashion outlets. But how probable is
it that this technological innovation will become a permanent feature of our shopping experi-
ence? How probable is it that a retailer will invest in such a mirror? To answer this question we
shall describe the expectations regarding the developments in shopping in the next few years.
We shall then examine to what extent these developments already play a role in shopping now,
in 2015. In order to maintain clarity, we shall present a structured overview of innovations. All of
the innovations mentioned are ultimately aimed at offering added value for the consumer, but
who is the consumer and what does he or she need? An inventory of how the shopping con-
sumer is viewed makes it clear that new perspectives are required in order to do justice to the
complexity of shopping behaviour and the shopping experience. Finally, we will briefly examine
specific cross-media aspects of shopping, such as the multichannel strategy of retail outlets and
the role of the physical store in relation to the webshop. We end by explaining how researching
the developments through the concept of servicescapes can answer a number of essential
questions on the probability of innovations more systematically.
We will enrich the developments we sketch and the arguments we use in two ways. Firstly,
examples of current innovations are given throughout the text. Secondly, insights from inter-
views with Amsterdam fashion retailers are presented at the end of each main section. In 2014,
students of the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI) interviewed retailers in Amsterdam to ask
about the future of fashion retailing. In total, 16 fashion retailers in various segments - from small
boutiques to well-known international brands - were interviewed (they have been anonymised
in this publication). During these interviews, students were specifically interested in the usage
of new and digital strategies to engage with (potential) customers. Four main insights and chal-
lenges for the near future were clearly highlighted by these interviews.
10 11
LOOKING AHEAD
SHOPPING IN 2020
The year 2020 is the new 2000. When we drew back the curtains on January the first 2000, we
discovered that the world had changed completely. For hundreds of years we had speculated
about what 2000 would look like and all of the possibilities that modern times and, specifically,
technology would bring us. And finally we were able to see with our own eyes all of the future
scenarios around us. On the first of January in 2020 our world will once again look different,
even if it is just the way in which we shop (Shopping2020, 2013).
The proximity of 2020 means that the predictions have a more realistic character compared to
the science fiction associated with 2000. A number of those predictions are extrapolations of
current developments that will almost certainly unfold over the coming years, in other words
trends. Demographic developments are an example of this: an increase in the population of
the Netherlands (17.1 million by 2020), the number of people over 50 that will be larger than
the number of 20 to 49 year olds and the increase in the number of single person households
(GfK, 2013). Although these are general trends they do have direct consequences for the retail
sector: older people have specific wishes with regard to the delivery of goods ordered online
and, because of the increase in single person households, the home delivery of goods ordered
will become a bigger problem (Schut et al., 2014).
Over the coming years, economic developments will also occur within a limited bandwidth.
Expectations are that there will be virtually no growth in consumer expenditure (Wolters, 2013;
Erich, 2014), spending power will stagnate or drop, more international players will join the Dutch
market, and the retail offering on the periphery will become leaner (GfK, 2013). This not only
means that consumers will primarily base their choices on price and that they will mainly be
interested in new services that can save them money (DigitasLBi, 2014), but it also means that
investments in the retail sector will decline or only be made by the major players in the market.
And major players or retail chains behave differently in the market compared to small indepen-
dents, with all of the consequences this entails for the development of retail as a sector. And
1312
that is before we consider the increasing number of empty retail premises, which is expected to
increase from 6.3% to 10% by 2020 (Shopping2020, 2013).
In the predictions there are major uncertainties, for instance about the role of ecological devel-
opments (the role of sustainability, 'green' policies) and political developments (including privacy
legislation, rental legislation for retail premises and opening hours policy). However, technology
remains the best subject for the party game in which we envisage the situation in the (near)
future. Technology and what that will bring us plays a recurring and leading role in all kinds of
speculation about retail developments (e.g. Hofste & Teeuw, 2012; GfK, 2013; Shopping2020,
2013; PwC, 2014; Shopping2020, 2014b). The current star players are big data, 3D printing and
wearables.
Big data is the analysis of linked databases in order to provide new insights. The integration of
(real-time) structured data (for example payment transaction data) and unstructured data (for
example, social media sentiment about a brand) is the Holy Grail of being able to understand
patterns in the customer journey, the ability to identify trends and new target groups and for
building up a profile of each customer so that the range of products on offer and the prices can
be adapted in real time.
3D SCANNER FOR BRA-SIZE
Bra shopping; it takes a lot of time, patience and awkward moments when the sales person
wants to measure your exact bra-size. So wouldn’t it be great if there was a solution for all
this? Lincherie claims to have it! The Dutch lingerie label Lincherie launched a new technique
for measuring the bra-size of customers in a fast and precise manner in one of their Am-
sterdam stores. You no longer need staff assistance when you want to know your exact size.
How does it work? A 3D body scanner is hidden in a mirror inside the fitting room. The mirror
itself tells the customer to spread their arms slightly and spin slowly. In less than a minute it
takes 140 measurements of the upper body. The customer then receives her exact bra-size.
Besides all of this, the mirror can also give customers information about what’s in stock.
Lincherie’s store manager claims that this mirror makes lingerie shopping less frustrating for
women who are particularly shy .
The 3D printing trend is seen as the future disruption to the production chain because customers
can print (parts of) a product themselves without the intervention of a manufacturer or supplier,
apart from the 3D model design. The phase of 3D printing of gadgets and miniatures is slowly
coming to an end and 'normal' products are increasingly forming part of what is available: at
Shapeways.com it is possible to order a 3D printed bikini. For fashion retail, it appears that the
development of 3D scanning is a trend that is just as important. Because measurements are
different in each country and for each brand it is often difficult for consumers to find clothes that
fit properly without actually trying them on, and all of the consequences this entails (such as
returns for online orders). A 3D scanner performs a 360-degree scan of a person’s body, on the
basis of which advice is given on the sizes of the different brands to be chosen (for example,
see www.me-ality.com).
Much is expected of wearables (Shopping2020, 2014b). There is a great deal of press interest in
wearable virtual reality (Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift). An increasing number of major names
such as Samsung and Apple are, for instance, focusing on smart watches. Although these ex-
amples are the most high profile, wearables also include sensors in shoes and clothing. These
sensors can be used to provide more information about an article of clothing when held up in
front of an interactive mirror in the store or they can be given a health monitoring function – from
step counters in training shoes to sensors in clothing that measure heart rate, blood sugar and
emotions. It remains to be seen which of these will be truly useful, for example the vibrating
'HAPIfork' that uses Bluetooth to monitor whether you are eating healthily by recording how quick-
ly you eat (see www.hapi.com/products-hapifork.asp). And all that for just 100 dollars.
STEALTH UNPOCKET
The Affair, funded by Kickstarter, introduce with their new collection '1984′ the UnPocket™'
stealth technology that secures your phone, passport and bankcards with police-grade high
performance shielding to ~100 dB. In other words: you become untrackable and unhackable.
UnPocket is a stealth pocket that securely blocks all Cellular, WiFi, GPS and RFID signals. A
whole collection of clothes is built around these removable and water resistant pockets, so
you can carry devices with you in style. People can be tracked easily because of the GPS
or WiFi on their phone. Personal data on your contactless bank card or e-passport can be
stolen or skimmed. This can be prevented, according to The Affair, by using UnPocket. Just
pop your phone, passport and bank cards in the pocket and you become invisible to Big
Brother. The Affair-1984 state on their website that their goal is to create: “Fashion for an
under-surveillance society. Because let’s face it, Big Brother knows way too much already…”
All three developments are already underway, which means that this future is already here,
however hesitantly that may be in some cases. The real question is whether they will survive the
hype cycle and, subsequently, how and when they manage to acquire a permanent presence
in the behaviour of organisations and consumers.
In addition to these three current developments, we also encounter a number of familiar faces
in the predictions about important technological developments. One example is 'The Internet
of Things', the increasing interfacing of objects with the Internet as a result of which 'everything
talks with each other' (and which also makes everything hackable, like in the Ubisoft game
Watchdogs). An iconic example of that general connectivity is the refrigerator that places orders
when, for example, you are about to run out of milk. The initial performance of these types of
commercial products dates back to 1998 by the Japanese firm V-Sync (with a Pentium II proces-
Much is expected of wearables
14 15
sor!). In this case it seemed that science fiction followed the current events with an appearance
by a ‘smart’ refrigerator in the film 'The 6th day', released in 2000. These days, the smart re-
frigerator is the example that is cited when underlining the fact that technology can be way off
target: "Truth is, no one wants to communicate with their fridge. No one wants the obligation of
keeping their fridge informed unless they're seriously short on inter-personal relationships." (The
Guardian, 2012). Perhaps it is indeed not necessary at all that every object has to be connected
directly to the Internet. The possibility of uniquely identifying an object via a barcode, QR code or
through augmented reality and thus be able to retrieve additional information via the Internet,
is probably sufficient for discovering whether we are buying a piece of healthy meat, whether
the item of clothing is cheaper elsewhere or whether your friends enjoyed reading a certain
book. Another long-term technological development or discussion is the one concerning Trust-
ed Identity - the ability to establish the identity of a person in a safe and reliable manner both
online and offline. This development is, of course, very important for payments and the new
payment methods that are being created such as via Near Field Communication (NFC). However,
it also plays a role within the framework of, amongst other things, personalisation and loyalty
programmes. Knowing what one and the same person does online and in-store can result in a
much better personalised offering. Convenience is the name of the game because, for example,
standard information does not need to be entered for every webshop or because multiple de-
vices are required for payments (cash, cash/chip card, switch card, credit card, mobile, Bitcoin,
etcetera). Behind Trusted Identity there are major discussions taking place about technological
infrastructure, security, fraud and privacy, which also affect more legal principles such informa-
tion ownership or more moral principles, such as who ‘owns’ your DNA profile.
For example, the Dutch department store the Bijenkorf in Rotterdam has implemented iBeacons.
These small devices recognise customers when they approach the cash register (www.emerce.nl,
2014). The staff can, among other things, see which preferences the customer has and what the
customers bought previously at the Bijenkorf. Not long after the Bijenkorf implemented iBeacons
in their store, papers started to write about privacy issues in relation to the use of iBeacons (De
Volkskrant, 2014). Does the profile that an online shop or a social media platform builds up
about me on the basis of my click pattern and purchases belong to that company or to me?
Apart from using iBeacons to collect information about the customer, it also can be used to send
information to the customer. In the byAMFI store in Amsterdam we tested the effect of sending
information to customers on their shopping experience via beacons. Every time a customer
approached a certain collection, he or she received extra information about that collection on
a mobile phone. The beacons provided text and photographs about the designer and the con-
cept behind the collection. Customers who were interviewed responded partially positively to
this manner of information transfer. They said, for example, that they think that this manner of
information provision suits not only the store, but also the future. They wished that more stores
had a system like this. One of the interviewees even said that she was willing to pay more for the
clothes now she knows more about the concept behind the garments. Another claimed that she
really liked receiving information in this manner, because she loves to shop anonymously and
using the beacons meant that she did not have to ask the staff for extra information. Besides
these positive reactions, there was also criticism: “You have to have time in order to use this
app. If you don’t have time, the app can be annoying”; “I prefer to decide for myself about which
garment I want to receive more information and about which garment I don’t.” The study's
overall result of the survey is that the group of customers that shopped with the app perceived
the store’s atmosphere in a significantly more negative manner than the group that shopped
without the app. Also, customers who used the app where significantly less willing to recom-
mend the store to others than customers who did not use the app. Despite some of the positive
reactions of customers, there were no positive effects of beacons found in this study (Moes &
Van Vliet, 2015). A clear indication that technological innovations do not necessarily lead to a
more positive shopping experience.
MEET ALEX & ANI WITH iBEACON
Everybody is talking about it: iBeacon. As with most new technologies, fashion retailers are
not sure whether to invest in it or not. Alex & Ani, an American fashion retailer focusing on
authentic jewellery, gave it a try. The main goal for Alex & Ani to use iBeacon was to get
consumers into the store who are not familiar with the brand – something many brands
strive for. Additionally, it is expected that the software will create a rich profile of shoppers’
browsing and purchasing behaviour. Gender-specific information combined with time and
location spent in-store plus purchase preferences should give Alex & Ani more insight into
the behaviour and wishes of their (future) customers.
Alex & Ani (www.alexandani.com/our-story) is the first companyin the US to start working
with iBeacon nationwide (Swirl, 2014). Their aim is to make people who do not know Alex &
Ani yet more aware of their existence. However, before rolling out, the company did some
tests from May to July 2013 in order to determine the success rate of the technology. They
found that over 75% of shoppers read Alex & Ani’s offerings and half of these shoppers
redeemed the promotion (20% discount on a bracelet). Although actual sales conversion
rates are not known, Alex & Ani therefore seem to be enthusiastic about the possibilities of
iBeacon for their company.
KNOWING YOUR CUSTOMER IN 2020
A common way of still being able to obtain a clear picture of (uncertain) future developments
is to draft scenarios. A very common form of this is to take a development with an uncertain
direction, for example, how people will deal with their possessions in the future. Two extremes
are then formulated, for example, 'buying will continue as usual' or 'there will be an economy
based on bartering and sharing'. When this is done for two developments these axes can be
Knowing what one and the same person does online and in-store
can result in a much better personalised offering
1716
intersected in a coordinate system, which produces four possibilities that can be further defined.
Here we describe two of these types of scenarios for the retail sector: one focuses on retail in
general, and one focuses on fashion shopping patterns facilitated by technology.
The 'Business Models of the Future’ report (Shopping2020, 2014a) states two uncertainties:
1. Do consumers act on the basis of a) individual interest – are they focused on control and
not willing to share, or b) collective interest – are they focused on sharing and teamwork?
2. Are consumers looking for a) the lowest price or b) are they willing to pay more for extra
added value such as convenience, luxury and sustainability?
Four scenarios emerge when we intersect these two uncertainties (Figure 1). The first scenario,
a thriving collaborative economy is about consumers having access to services and products
that they wish to use, which they do not necessarily have to own, but which they can hire and
use on a temporary basis. This can be for reasons of convenience or because of sustainability
considerations. In the price-conscious collaborative economy (scenario number 2) the power of
the collective is used to negotiate good deals through collective purchasing and agreements re-
lating to, for example, energy and insurance. Products, such as cars, are also shared because
it is less expensive to do it that way. Objects are also shared between people because this
makes good economic sense (see https://peerby.com). In the third scenario, price-conscious
self-society, the main aim for the individual consumer is to find the best deal, and it makes no
difference whether it is a different supplier or a different brand each time. Online marketplaces
are consulted in order to find that best deal (see www.beslist.nl). The lowest price is what counts,
much more than convenience and sustainability. In the last scenario, the thriving self-society,
the individual consumer is looking for convenience, luxury and experience, for which he or she
is willing to pay. Online marketplaces are used to find unique products and services. This type
of consumer is happy to be advised and often takes out a subscription in order to be able to
continue to enjoy the experience (see www.winecast.com).
Hofste & Teeuw (2012) also present four scenarios; however, these are more closely tailored to
the consumer and how he or she shops. As a consequence, these scenarios are less abstract
Added value
Thriving
self-society
Thriving
collaborative
economy
Price conscious
self-society
Price conscious
collaborative
economy
Individual
Price
Shopping 2020 (2014)
Collective
‘New shopping process’
Social
shopper
Augmented
shopping
experience
Virtual
shopping
Personal
shop
experience
Product
orientation
‘Current shopping process’
Hofste & Teeuw (2012)
Experience
orientation
Figure 1: Future shopping scenarios
compared to the scenarios discussed above. This is a direct consequence of the uncertainties
that were chosen:
1. Does the consumer act on the basis of a) purchasing a product or service, or b) focusing
on the experience?
2. Does the current shopping process change or not under the influence of, for example, the
mobile phone?
Both axes are, in fact, not chosen very well. The first axis does not so much describe an uncer-
tainty but two different ‘consumers’ (see discussion below). For the second axis, the outcome
was already known at the time of publication in 2012: yes, the shopping process is changed
even just by using a smartphone in the shop (to compare prices), or for advance online orienta-
tion (comparison sites). This is, therefore, far from being an uncertainty, already a reality (in 2012).
Four more possible scenarios can also be generated on the basis of these two axes (Figure 1). In
the first scenario, the 'Augmented Shopping experience', the consumer’s experience is central.
The store makes optimum use of virtual techniques in order to show how the personally select-
ed clothing suits you. Interactive full-length mirrors, 3D models and virtual catwalks intensify
the experience. In the 'Personal shop experience' scenario the consumer buys as he currently
does, but the store is enriched with extra experience moments through smell, sound and visual
stimulants matched to personal aspirations. For 'Virtual shopping', technology is used to enable
the consumer to make a selection from a large range by creating a virtual fitting room and the
ability to show the choice immediately to friends via a Tweet mirror. In the last scenario, that of
the 'Social shopper', social media play an important role in the buying process, both online and
offline. Review sites and the opinions of family and friends are consulted in order to decide what
to buy. Brands and shops monitor this and try to influence it and to learn from their customers
by analysing thoughts and statements.
ONLINE IN THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
It is undeniable that online developments are playing a major role in the future scenarios that
have been outlined. What have those developments been and what are the future prospects?
Weltevreden (2012) identified four phases in the evolution of online shopping. In the first phase,
between 1994 and 1999 only 16% of people in the Netherlands had access to the Internet at
home. In this period, the vast majority of the activities consisted of surfing the net and using
e-mail. Retail chains and mail order firms in particular had websites, although only 4% also
used the website as a sales channel. The website during this period was mainly used as a
referral to the store (opening times, location). There was virtually no online shopping: in 1998,
only 2% of the Dutch population bought via the Internet. By 2003, this had already risen to 31%
due to a substantial growth in the number of households that became connected to the Internet
between 1999 and 2003: around 68%, of which one-third was already using a broadband
connection. By this time, an increasing number of retail chains and independent retailers had
a website, which was used to provide more information about products and services and for
e-mailing newsletters to keep customers informed and to build loyalty.
1918
In the period between 2004 and 2009, the number of households with access to the Internet
had increased even further to 91% and webshops and social media were becoming popular.
By 2009 more than two-thirds of the Dutch population were shopping online, and the amount
of spending online and the average amount spent was increasing substantially. This period
showed the mass emergence of (smaller) web-only firms, which resulted in a threefold increase
in online sales. However, the traditional retail sector lagged behind when it came to developing
webshops: only 18% of the retail chains and only 6% of the independent retailers had a web-
shop in 2006.
3D SHOPPING FROM HOME
Want the total in-store experience without having the trouble of traveling to the store and
having to deal with crowds? In 2012, Keytree developed an interactive system that enables
users to shop virtually in their living room. By developing what is known as an ‘immersive’ 3D
environment, users can walk virtually through the supermarket and order their items. In this
way, shoppers do have the experience of being in a store, but don’t have to actually go there
and queue up to get their products. Keytree works with Kinect technology, thereby making
it possible to navigate through the environment without using a mouse or PC. Rather, your
body becomes the console. The store data is provided by Tesco, Amazon and eBay and by
tracking the personal behaviour of both the individual and the total amount of shoppers,
and personalisation is offered by both the individual preferences and suggestions based on
what others bought.
In the final phase, between 2009 and 2012, virtually every Dutch person was connected to the
Internet, where a shift could be detected towards the use of the laptop and the smartphone as
the preferred device, rather than the desktop. In 2012, three-quarters of the Dutch population
shopped online and although the number of orders placed and the amount of the spending
were still increasing, the rate of growth was levelling off. The number of webshops operated by
retail chains and independent retailers was increasing. However, retailers with a physical store
still remained in the majority (61% in 2011) compared to 17% web-only firms in the retail sector. By
2011, around 22% of retailers had both a physical store and a webshop.
Weltevreden (2012) concludes that the impact of online sales on physical shops was substantial,
in addition to factors such as the economic crisis, increased rents for physical stores, opening
time legislation and suchlike: "In sectors in which (parts of) the product or the service can be
digitised, such as financial products (digital policies), holidays and travel (e-tickets), photograph/
film (digital photographs) and media goods (music, films), the number of stores has declined
considerably in the last decade. Telecom is the only exception; in this sector the number of
stores has increased substantially, which is in part due to the growth in demand for mobile
Internet devices." (p. 20). Conversely, it applies that "Especially in (…) sectors that are interesting
for recreational shopping, such as clothing, shoes, personal care and sports products, there is
an increase in the number of stores" (p. 20).
We can extrapolate the historical development outlined by Weltevreden to the present day and
to the future and can do so on the basis of the results of the Shopping2020 research pro-
gramme. This research programme asked how consumers would be shopping in 2020. This
question has become relevant and urgent in the context of the current economic crisis and de-
velopments such as changing consumer behaviour, changes in the value chain, the emergence
of new technology, the digitising of products and profound (international) competition.
The Shopping2020 study reveals that in 2012, of the total consumer spending1 17% was online,
and 83% was in physical stores.2 This spending represents an online turnover of 11 billion Euros
out of a total of 65.9 billion Euros. The product categories that have the largest share in this are
insurance, travel and ticket sales (flight ticket, accommodation). Of the 11 billion Euros of online
sales, 4.8 billion Euros were generated in the retail sector. Fifty per cent of that 4.8 billion Euros
is shared between ten sellers: RFS Holding (Wehkamp, Fonq, Create2fit), Bol, Zalando, Albert.nl,
BAS group (Dixons, MyCom, Dynabyte), Coolblue, KPN, H&M, Hema and Ticketmaster Neder-
land. If you then look at fashion retail, it represents approximately 10% of total online sales: 0.9
billion Euros for clothing and 0.3 billion Euros for shoes and personal lifestyle (Shopping2020,
2013; Wolters, 2013; Schut et al., 2014).
It is expected that the online share will increase substantially over the coming years. The fore-
cast growth to 2020 does, however, depend on who one asks. According to consumers, the
online share will increase from 17% to 50%, but according to experts the share will only increase
to 36% (Wolters, 2013).3 The expectations differ considerably for each product category. The big-
gest growth is expected in the product categories that were already doing well online in 2012:
event tickets, package holidays, individual flight tickets and accommodation and insurance are
expected to increase from the current 50% to between 70% and 80% of the share of online sales.
For fashion, according to the experts, the current share of 10% of online sales will increase to
27% for both clothing and shoes & personal lifestyle (Wolters, 2013). An estimate that can also
be found in a recent ING report on shopping domains (Erich, 2014). The same pattern, but with
different figures, can be seen when consumers are asked about the products that they will no
longer be buying in a physical store in 2020. The top of that particular list has the same product
categories stated by the experts: event tickets, package holidays, individual flight tickets and
accommodation and insurance. Around 40% of consumers say that they will no longer be going
to physical stores for these products. For fashion, the number is considerably lower: 17% (shoes
and personal lifestyle) and 12% (clothing) (Peters & Witte, 2013).4 We shall return to the potential
reasons for this when we discuss the role of the physical store.
Besides online shopping, there is another interesting development happening in the world of
online fashion. Fashion apps and fashion blogs are becoming more and more popular. Fash-
ion apps are applications that offer a shopping and/or inspirational platform for the app user.
The impact of online sales on physical shops was substantial
20 21
Like other apps, these can be downloaded onto smartphones from an app store (Magrath &
McCormink, 2013). These days, fashion blogs function as a central platform where fashion-re-
lated news and information circulates (Rocamora, 2012). Fashion blogs can inspire their readers.
Advertisements that are ‘hidden’ in the blogs can affect consumer’s (brand) attitude and shop-
ping behaviour. These blogs have the ability to create a strong personal relationship with their
readers. Advertisements viewed in such a personal and non-intrusive context can influence
consumers in a more subtle way than traditional media can (Halvorsen et al., 2013).
FASHION BLOGS: AUTHENTICITY IS FOR SALE
Last year, Yara Michels wrote an article in her blog This Chick’s Got Style about her ninth ear
piercing. She also told her readers where she bought her other eight piercings, among which
was a particular shop in Amsterdam. A few days later Yara received an e-mail from this par-
ticular jewellery maker: a lot of people showed up to her store and everybody showed Yara’s
picture, they all wanted to have the same earring.
This is an example of how fashion blogs influence the shopping behaviour of consumers.
Because of their influence, fashion blogs can function as a marketing communication tool
for retailers. A recent study by Maaike Driessen revealed some interesting results. A survey
answered by 108 fashion blog readers, showed that fashion blogs influence the shopping
behaviour of consumers. Apparently, 93 percent of fashion blog readers bought something
after they saw it in a fashion blog. Besides this, the results show that fashion blog readers
are influenced by product reviews and they are more likely to buy something after they have
seen it in a fashion blog.
In interviews with the bloggers, they said that they started blogging because they wanted
to do something beside their study, they wanted to share their style or were bored. Fashion
bloggers are becoming marketing tools since they work together with retailers and are paid
for writing articles. None of the fashion bloggers spoken to dreamed of getting paid for what
they loved to do. A lot of them do now, and all fashion bloggers are happy to work with re-
tailers. But bloggers have a few terms and conditions. First, the retailer should suit their style
and second they like to get something in return.
Retailers are also eager to work with fashion bloggers but the research shows they do
not really know how to use fashion bloggers for their marketing strategy. The website
www.blogmakelaar.nl was created as a result of this research. This website allows retailers
to get to know more about fashion bloggers as a marketing communication tool.
THE FUTURE IN 2015
What is missing among all of these (extrapolated) numbers is a more qualitative picture of
the changes that will take place: What will the innovations be that will ensure that more is
sold online or that consumers still go to stores? It is true that all of the Shopping2020 reports
are interspersed with examples of innovations, from a more science fiction type character (the
'Sight'-video on http://vimeo.com/46304267) to the constantly recurring Google Glass type inno-
vations. However, the examples are used for illustrative purposes only. There is no systematic
inventory of the changes currently taking place in the retail sector, and that can be regarded as
being the forerunners of what will become reality by 2020.5 The scenarios outlined earlier have
such a system within them, but, what is more, the future perspectives outlined are often abstract
(Shopping2020, 2014a) or have a limited view, such as a technological view (Hofste & Teeuw,
2012). The choice of a limited number of uncertainties when developing scenarios also means
a full description of all innovations can never be given.
In September 2013, the Cross-media research group of the Amsterdam University of Applied
Sciences (AUAS) in collaboration with the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI) started a study on
innovations in fashion retail on the basis of two fundamental principles. The first fundamental
principle concerns the method of classifying all occurrences observed, for which a mix of a tax-
onomy and a typology was chosen. A taxonomy is a systematic classification of aspects based
on observations. By observing multiple occurrences, many of their aspects can be classified into
similarities and differences. The result is often a hierarchical classification, such as the taxonomy
of species in flora and fauna. Whilst a taxonomy starts on the basis of observed occurrences, a
typology starts on the basis of a concept. The distinctive properties that potential occurrences
could normally possess are devised and the actual occurrences are then classified in accor-
dance with these rules. We then talk about 'types’ as opposed to 'kinds’, as in the case of a tax-
onomy. One can say that taxonomies are created empirically or inductively and that typologies
are created conceptually or by deduction. In order to make an inventory of the innovations in
fashion retail we have opted to work at the highest level using conceptual classification (typol-
ogy) and then to use two levels 'below' that have resulted in ‘kinds’ of innovations on the basis
of observations (taxonomy). The decision to work at the highest level using a typology arises
from the framework that has been developed for examining new services by the cross-media
research group (see Van Vliet, 2014).
The second fundamental principle concerns the typology to be used for the innovations. We have
opted for the STOF model as it is a well-founded framework in business model innovation re-
search. The STOF model is part of the STOF methodology, a design method for business models.
The STOF model describes business models on the basis of four associated domains: the Service
domain (the added value of the service), the Technology domain (the technical functionality and
architecture required in the service), the Organisation domain (the network of parties involved
and the processes for delivering the service) and the Financial domain (the method of income
generation and the sharing of risks, investments and income amongst the various actors in the
network). It is from these four domains that the methodology derives its name (Haaker, 2012).
For the time being, these fundamental principles have resulted in the following classifications for
the innovations that have been found (Table 1). The actual inventory of innovations in fashion re-
tail is published on the website www.fashionretailfuture.com. The regularly updated inventory
There is no systematic inventory of the changes currently taking
place in the retail sector
2322
on the website can be viewed as 'data' that can be part of future research. In the next section we
shall examine the four innovation domains in more detail, give a few examples and describe a
particular development for each domain in more detail.
Service Domain Technological Domai Organisational Domain Financial Domain
Personalisation
Customer Cards
Personalised products
Experiences
The shop as an event
Atmospherics
Playful experiences
Social experiences
Crowdsourcing
Designed by customers
Co-creation
In-Store
Interactive mirrors
Shopping walls
Interactive shop windows
Customer tracking
3D body scans
Smart hangers
Touchscreens
Smart Garments
Online
3D shopping
Virtual mirrors
3D fitting
Mobile
Scanning
Holographic and aug-
mented reality
LBS/Routing
Public Space
Shopping walls
Public screens
Collaboration
Outlet platforms
Affiliates
Logistics
Smart integrated inventory
Smart inventory management
Click & Collect
Stockless store
Pop-up store
Value Chain
Fast fashion
Reverse supply chain
Payments
Alternatives
Coupons
Crowd fun ding
C2C
Table 1: Classification of innovations in fashion retail
INSIGHTS AND CHALLENGES AMSTERDAM FASHION RETAILERS:
ONLINE PRESENCE
Most of the retailers that were interviewed by AMFI students have a – still simple – webshop.
Some because they want to make sure that they have an online presence, while others really
see it as a way of increasing sales. However, most retailers struggle with how to handle this
effectively: making sure that people find your website and are seduced to buy your products on
it. Retailer T: “Recently, I asked two boys, with no knowledge of what I was doing, to buy a pair
of jeans from our webshop. And after doing so, they said that it was unclear to them whether or
not they could actually buy a pair of jeans on our website. So for them, it was a website, not a
webshop. This really triggered me; it is so easy to become blind in this business. So I drastically
lowered the amount of clicks to get to the point of purchase and gave more information about
our terms in relation to online sales. Hopefully, it has now become more clear that we also run
a webshop” (personal conversation, 2014).
Looking at the future of fashion stores, retailer T has only one thing to say: “It will all be about on-
line and digitalisation, like, marketing wise. The paper era is blowing its last breath. [...] I mean,
this is relevant to all retailers. In the end, you want to remain profitable. Paper advertising is a
tradition of ours, but it is hard to tell conversion rates. If I buy 100,000 books to sell in my store,
I do want to make sure that enough customers will buy them” (idem). He therefore pays a lot
of attention to his website and SEO optimisation. Adding the right text, and the right links. “My
goal is to appear in the top ranking in Google within one month. So if we have a new collection,
I make sure that I announce it well, that everybody knows about it when searching for it. This is
where the main part of the marketing budget goes to” (idem). Other retailers confirm this chal-
lenge: if people look for certain brands or fashion items, they want to make sure they are found
quickly. But how to do that, remains a big task, especially when marketing budgets are limited.
2524
INNOVATIONS ON ALL
FRONTS
SERVICE INNOVATIONS
The service domain concerns the added value that a service or product provides for the custom-
er. A great deal is expected of personalisation, in other words, the customising of the service
or product for a particular individual so that a more or less unique service or product is created.
The most literal interpretation of this is tailor-made clothes and the independent creation of, for
example, a Louis Vuitton bespoke handbag from The Haute Maroquinerie in Bond Street in
London. Personalisation is not just about creating a unique product or service; it also relates to
finding an appropriate or unique product or service for an individual. Recommendations for you,
the customer, based on your previous purchases or based on preferences of people with similar
tastes can be found in many webshops. Another example is Buyosphere where you can obtain
personal fashion advice from other visitors. Personalisation is also about customising the infor-
mation about the service or product by taking into account the specific moment (morning rush
hour, Wednesday afternoon, during Sunday opening hours, et cetera) and the precise location
(in-store, en route, at home, et cetera). This personalisation can be improved by gathering as
much information as possible about the customer: from buying trends via store cards and on-
line click and buy patterns on PC, tablet, Smartphone and Smart-TV to personal information (zip
code, e-mail address) and all kinds of sensor information (how you move around the store, what
you look at, what products you pick up or take to the fitting room, et cetera). This combination
of data can then be used to persuade the customer with targeted special offers or by adapting
advertisements on TV, online, in magazines or on billboards in real time, as depicted in a scene
in the film Minority Report released in 2002.
FASHION ADVICE @BUYOSPHERE
Buyosphere was a fashion advice community where one could browse style guides that
were created by members of the community or simply ask advice on where to find some-
thing that is exactly what the consumer was looking for. Born out of personal frustration
with finding unique products online, Buyosphere focused on finding that exclusive item that
consumers couldn’t seem to find using traditional methods. As Buyosphere said : “Our goal
2726
is to create the best and most unique content through user curation – unearthing unique
designers and products you won’t find through a traditional search.” With Buyosphere, shop-
pers could sign up for the Fashion Advice Community that enabled users to 1) ask questions
to get help in finding that perfect item, 2) check style guides of other members and 3) save
those items that customers love to their personal profile, thereby also having the ability to
share these items with their personal network. Becoming an editor – an active member who
is, for instance, able to create style guides that can function as an inspiration to others – was
also one of the options Buyosphere offered. In this role, one could (as already mentioned)
create style guides, be featured on the homepage and in newsletters and get a special
profile where one could build a personal fashion magazine and style portfolio. The failure
of Buyosphere proves that not all new interactive communities are a guarantee for success.
After existing for two years, Buyosphere pulled the plug in 2014. As they said: “It was a million
things that led to this not turning out the way we wanted it to.”
However, research shows that only 14% of consumers want a personalised offering, 42% do
not and 44% are undecided (Peters & Witte, 2013). Of consumers, 77% also say that they do not
wish to be identified when entering a store in order to be presented with a personal shopping
experience. One possible explanation for this is fear amongst consumers about what happens
with their data. Of those questioned, 67% were willing to share information with the retailer in
order to be presented with relevant offerings but did not want their details to be shared with
other parties. That makes it difficult to create an overall profile of a person and personalisation
therefore remains restricted to a brand, store, social media platform, app or webshop despite
the fact that benefits are to be had, including for the customer, by making information available
to other suppliers about a person’s preferences. Musical preference (iTunes downloads, Spotify
playlists, radio listening pattern) is, for example, not an isolated feature of an individual but is
related to all kinds of preferences. The North & Hargreaves (2007) study shows that musical
preference is associated with choices of particular newspapers, radio stations, TV channels, TV
programmes, magazines, books, the amount of time spent reading and the preference for cer-
tain leisure activities. In that sense music preference says something about a person’s lifestyle. It
is not unimaginable that a fashion webshop can recommend something relevant to a customer
based on that customer’s music preference.
A theme that is just as important as personalisation is the provision of experiences. Piet Zoomers
said in an interview: "Those that want to survive in the future will have to pay a great deal of at-
tention to the in-store experience, certainly if one wishes to take on online shopping." (in Hofste
& Teeuw, 2012, p. 6). Veenstra (2012) regards 'experience' as an important weapon in combat-
ing inner-city property vacancy. Williams (2014) sees Disney's "Merchantainment' strategy as the
next phase of e-commerce: the retail-store strategy of offering environments where consumers
want to spend time - and money (p. 114). Ter Haar (2014) talks about the 'total retail experience'.
And in the PwC trend report (2014) the (digitising of the) shopper experience is referred to as
a megatrend: "A digital experience of products and services is achieved by creating a clear
experience of his product and/or formula, in which online and offline are integrated. This digital
experience is achieved by using and combining technological developments such as mobile
devices, augmented reality, video wall holograms." (p. 12). What is striking is that new tech-
nology is often regarded as the bringer of good news: an experience is created ‘automatically’
through holograms, augmented reality, video walls, digital fitting rooms and virtual shopping.6
Examples are the Burberry store with large screens and magic mirrors (that respond to RFID
tags in clothing), interactive Coca Cola floors in shops and apps that allow you to shop 'socially'
because you and your friends can all go shopping at the same time using social media (www.
bevyup.com). Still, all too often experience is seen as a key to success without stating precisely
what constitutes that experience.
The fact that there are other views about experience and shopping apart from the purely tech-
nological aspect can be found in the study undertaken by Erdman (2008). He tried to devise a
number of design principles for adding experience to shopping areas so that their distinctive ca-
pacity would increase. He based this on, amongst other things, the well-known Pine & Gilmore
theory on the Experience Economy (Pine & Gilmore, 1999). In that theory, Pine & Gilmore derive
a number of design principles for creating experiences. In his study, Erdman examined the
extent to which these could be used in the context of shopping areas and in so doing allowed
himself to be guided by 12 experts. In the end, he devised four principles. Their strength is that
he attempted to translate them into specific instructions:7
1. Achieve harmony, in other words harmonise all variables within a shopping area with
each other. For example, appropriate for the environment, logical routing, correct size
and scale in the shopping area, correct retail choice (sectoring, price, quality), quantity
and quality of catering.
2. Avoid negative impressions that can affect the experience such as dirty and unsafe envi-
ronments, poor accessibility, high parking charges, unoccupied property, wind nuisance,
etcetera.
3. Activate the senses to create stimuli that feed the experience: light, smell, sounds, climate
control, sight lines and visual aspects.
4. Create an identity by paying attention to recognisability (landmark, logo, promotion) and
by creating a safe and pleasant atmosphere.
One final remark on experiences is necessary. In Van Vliet (2012) it is already stated, as a result
of reviewing the Pine & Gilmore theory, that strong doubts can be raised about the unilinear
process of economic evolution advocated by Pine & Gilmore, in which 'experiences' are a fourth
step in the escape from the 'commodity trap'. The few historical examples that were referred to
in Van Vliet’s study (2012) as counter-example can now be supplemented further by examples
Consumers do not wish to be identified when entering a store in
order to be presented with a personal shopping experience
28 29
from the retail context. In the 1930s, Carl W. Dipman described a number of future visions on the
development of food retail, in which recurring aspects are self-service and "shopping is to be
an experience, not just a job to be done" (in Bowlby, 1997, p. 99). Furthermore: "In the late eigh-
teenth century Oxford Street had already been described as a 'dazzling spectacle' of 'splendidly
lit shop fronts' and 'alluring' and 'handsome' displays." (Nava, 1997, p. 64). Even more important
than a vision and an illustrative example is that particular experiences were 'produced' and
perceived around the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, the most iconic example of these being
department stores. Department stores were more than just a place for doing your shopping;
they formed a new public venue for displaying modernity and were visited as tourist attractions.
The Selfridges department store was regarded, like Westminster Abbey and other places, as
one of the biggest attractions in London. One of the Selfridges advertising slogans was: "Shop-
ping at Selfridge's: A Pleasure - A Pastime - A Recreation". Department stores were 'fantasy
palaces', luxuriously built from marble, iron ornaments, large open staircases, parquet flooring
and silk and leather furniture. They were the first public places that used electric lighting, and not
just for illuminating but also for the theatrical effects. Everything was configured for service and
having fun whilst shopping, supported by unique spaces for children, restaurants, roof terraces,
zoological gardens, ice-skating rinks, libraries, galleries, travel agencies, banks and all manner
of services for delivering your purchases to your home. And that wasn’t everything: "In their
display of goods and use of colour, they often drew on the convention of theatre and exhibitions,
continually innovating in order to produce new, vivid and seductive environments, with mise-
en-scenes which combined, or offered in sequence, modernist, traditional and exotic decors
(…) These magnificent stage sets also served as a backdrop to live entertainment, which was
provided on a regular basis. There were live orchestras in the restaurants and tea rooms and
even, occasionally, in the grocery departments. Dress shows and pageants were regular events.
'Spectacular oriental extravaganzas', which included live tableaux of Turkish harems, Cairo mar-
kets or Hindu temples, with live performers, dance, music and of course oriental products, were
also held frequently." (Nava, 1997, pp. 66-67; also see Stobart, 2008).
TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS
The technology domain in the STOF model concerns the technology that is required to produce
a new product or deliver a new service. A multitude of examples can be found in this domain,
in which the development has already gone beyond QR codes, iPads, narrowcasting and infor-
mation kiosks (Molenaar, 2011). Actual shop experiments are being undertaken with interactive
full-length mirrors, from the 'simple' form where more information about the item of clothing is
displayed on the basis of an RFID chip in the item of clothing (magic mirror) or where a picture
is taken of the clothing that you are trying on and you have the possibility to share it via social
media (tweet mirror), to gesture-based browsing through a collection where a selected item of
clothing is projected on top of your image in the mirror and you can also move to see whether
it ‘fits’ (virtual mirror, Kinect-shopping). There are plenty of examples of in-store touch-screens:
from iPads to large video walls, which can be used by the staff or the consumer to search, select
and order. Screens also appear increasingly in store windows (interactive storefronts), making
it possible to search and order at the physical location of the store when it is closed. This is not
necessarily linked to the store as such. Examples can also be found of self-service digital stores
in public spaces such as airports (an example of which is Tesco at London Gatwick Airport) and
in metro stations – the next generation of vending machines. Or the technology is in the clothing
(tags) or on the clothes hangers – showing the number of ‘likes’ for the item on social media.
Technology is not always visible to the customer, there is increasingly more in-store technology
(sensors, cameras, WiFi-tracking, iBeacons) for monitoring customer patterns such as the route
taken and items of clothing picked up, to cameras in mannequins that follow the eye move-
ments of the customers.
USE THE TWEET MIRROR WHILE SHOPPING
At the ‘Honeymoon shop’ bridal shop in Rotterdam, they have an in-store Twitter Mirror. This
smart mirror can take pictures that shoppers can email, tweet or post to whomever they
want. With this new technology, it is perhaps a little less difficult for the brides to choose the
dress of their dreams. The bridal shop’s main goal is to help the customer to make a carefully
considered choice about her wedding dress. One can use the Tweet Mirror by simply stand-
ing in front of it. You can use the virtual buttons on the screen to take and save pictures. This
allows customers to see all of the dresses that they tried on and compare them with each
other, without having to try them on again.
Technological innovations can also be found online. There are various examples of online virtu-
al mirrors (online fitting rooms) as counterparts to in-store interactive full-length mirrors, where
the image of the person filmed using a webcam is used for the virtual ‘fitting’ of all kinds of
goods, from glasses, wigs, jewellery to make-up. Complete 3D shops can also be found online
in which you can walk through the shop like 'in real life’ and do your shopping. These can also
be personalised so that you do not have to spend an endless amount of time looking for that
one particular product. Because sizes are a significant bottleneck when ordering clothing online,
online solutions for this have been developed that allow you to have a model of yourself pro-
duced and have that model try on the clothes (http://corpo.myvirtualmodel.com/index.html) or
upload photographs of yourself and your sizes so that a 3D model of you can be produced, for
example Tesco's 3D fitting room.
3D FITTING @TESCO
In 2012, Tesco launched a web-application that enabled consumers to create a 3D-photo-
realistic model by entering body measurements and uploading two photos. Users of the
Tesco feature were invited to upload a photo of their face to create the face of the virtual
model. After some small adjustments, such as entering some identification points to calcu-
late face measurements and adding a hairstyle, one could start creating the body by giving
information about height, weight, and hip measurements (or by uploading a body photo).
After the avatar was created, the consumer could start the shopping and fitting process. After
the consumer created a model, (s)he could start adding clothes and see how the garments
fitted. This meant that shoppers could ‘try on’ clothing while sitting at home behind their lap-
tops, without having to pay a visit to the actual store.
3130
With this feature, Tesco hoped to offer an extra service that would allow consumers to avoid
long queues and try on clothing via their virtual avatar. However, looking at their website,
www.clothingattesco.com, the application now seems to be removed and replaced by sub-
jects that are more related to fashion advice and trends.
Finally, there are also technological innovations in the area of smartphones that are worth men-
tioning. Virtual reality has, for instance, become possible through the use of a certain app in
combination with the Google Cardboard. We created an app like this, in which anyone with a
smartphone and a Google Cardboard can virtually ‘walk’ through the byAmfi Statement Store in
Amsterdam, wherever they are (Riester & Van Vliet, 2014). You can stand in six different places in
and around the store and literally look around. A voice-over will guide you through the store at the
pace you decide. Augmented reality via the smartphone is also used to boost the consumer ex-
perience and to provide additional information about a product. The latter is a common use of the
smartphone: whether it is by scanning QR codes, via Bluetooth (beacons) or RFID, the smartphone
is a commonly used device for providing consumers with personalised extra information or for
informing them about special offers. This additional information is often combined with informa-
tion about the consumer’s location (location based services). For example, a few years ago We-
hkamp was able to launch a campaign that gave consumers a 10% extra discount on Wehkamp
products if the consumer was in a competitor’s physical store, for example in the Mediamarkt, at
that moment (Hofste & Teeuw, 2012). Another example is the Shopkick app (www.shopkick.com),
which rewards you every time for simply walking into a particular store (the 'kick'). If you do this
often enough, you will receive in-store discounts.
AUGMENTED REALITY ADVERTISEMENTS
Do you want to show multiple products in one advertisement, but don’t have the space to
do so? Or do you want to offer a new experience for consumers while browsing through
advertisements? Augmented reality advertising does just that. Augmented reality ads can
offer a new product experience. According to Layar (www.layar.com/why-layar/) consum-
ers are 165% (!) more likely to buy a product when it includes an AR marketing component.
The type of AR ad that we are talking about here is an ad as we know it: a picture in, for
example, a magazine. Only with AR, consumers can point the camera of their phone at the
ad. The camera then searches for ‘recognition marks’ to identify the object in the picture. As
it does this, it shows the content that is linked to the information on the phone’s screen, such
as a shoe collection, or the possibility to see a dress in multiple colours, as a layer over the
actual photo. Most of the time one needs an app that enables the possibility to recognise
the products. From this perspective, the process is the same as with a regular QR-scanner:
scan the item and then extra information will appear. The extra information in the case of
AR-technology contains a ‘pop-up’. One can suddenly see a 3D version of a product, or one
can pick different colours for a certain outfit.
The level of prominence of smartphone usage in the consumer’s current buying process is ap-
parent from, among others, the DigitasLBi study (2014). Around two-thirds of Dutch consumers
stated that using a mobile phone has had a significant impact on the buying process. For exam-
ple, 90% of consumers use their mobile phone to search for more information about a product
when they are at home, at work or school, and around 40% do this when they are in the store.
So as a retailer it is worth considering how to create a valuable experience for your customers
with smartphones. The mobile phone is used in the store to search for information, to compare
prices and to ask the opinion of friends and family about the products. The Snaptell app, for
example, allows you to take a photograph of a book, CD or videogame and then shows reviews
and ratings for the product. Purchases made by mobile phone are lagging behind somewhat;
when asked if they had purchased a product via their smartphone in te last three months, only
18% of Dutch consumers said yes (DigitasLBi, 2014).
We can see comparable results in the Kilcourse & Rowen study (2014): one-third of customers
use their mobile phone in the store and do so mainly for price comparison (62%) followed by
product ratings and reviews (45%) and improved online choice (39%). Williams (2014) writes
about more than half of the consumers using a mobile device in the store, primarily for com-
paring prices. Of those consumers, 36% visit the retailer’s website or app for the store in which
they are located at that moment. A Google study (Google, 2013) also reveals the advance of the
smartphone in the shopping process: 90% of the smartphone users asked said that they use the
smartphone before shopping (finding store locations, opening times, price comparison, special
offers, browsing catalogue) and 84% use the smartphone in the store; for clothing this is 80%.
The most important activity on the smartphone in the store is price comparison, although this is
more prevalent for appliances and electronics (>70%) than for clothing (44%). Search engines
are mainly used for this and, in second place, the store’s website. The study also finds that con-
sumers who use smartphones frequently in the buying process spend 25% more money com-
pared to consumers who only use smartphones for this purpose occasionally.8 The researchers
regard the smartphone as "one of the biggest influencers in the store today; it presents tremen-
dous opportunities" (Google, 2013, p. 15).
At the same time, not all retailers and advertisers are 'up to speed' with these developments.
Only one-fifth of retailers consider contextualisation of information for a consumer to be import-
ant (Kilcourse & Rowen, 2014) and only one-third of advertisers use mobile marketing – mainly
for boosting sales and greater brand and customer engagement; amongst advertisers with a
loyalty programme the mobile phone plays no role in two thirds of the cases (Velti, 2013). It is
expected that attention to and budget for mobile marketing will increase substantially in the
coming years (Shankar et al., 2010; Williams, 2014), especially for location-based services and
couponing (Velti, 2013). The latter can, for example, be via an 'opt-in' procedure where the cus-
tomer can decide whether or not to receive coupons. These expectations are not only based on
As a retailer it is worth considering how to create a valuable
experience for your customers with smartphones
3332
the increasing use of smartphones, but also on the fact that the smartphone is experienced as
being personal and the retailer has the possibility to ‘follow’ the consumer everywhere: "Retail-
ers can now enter the consumer's environment through the mobile device, and, because the
mobile device stays with the consumer, the retailer can be anywhere, anytime" (Shankar et al.,
2010, p. 112). There is, however, a shift taking place in the belief that mobile devices not only have
to have a function for attracting the consumers to the store but that they also have to be seen as
a channel that must support the entire sales process, including in the store: "Mobile's role is to
bind the digital and physical selling environments together in a meaningful way for consumers."
(Kilcourse & Rowen, 2014, p. 22). The main reasons why retailers and advertisers are lagging
behind are budget and knowledge as well as mistrust on the part of consumers about (push)
marketing (Shankar et al., 2010; Velti, 2013; Kilcourse & Rowen, 2014).
In our study, conducted by students, into the use of technology in 60 fashion retail stores in Am-
sterdam, we also found little evidence of all of the technological possibilities (Schrandt, Riester
& Van Vliet, 2014). The stores rarely use any of the current digital opportunities. Products are
mainly promoted using flyers, bags and posters. Feedback from customers is mainly obtained
via forms. Interactive screens are the most common form of digital expression although here
too only one-third of the shops studied made use of this. Visitors are being asked to visit the
website/webshop (for example by printing the URL on the till receipt). The websites/webshops
of the shops studied often contain the same information that people would encounter in the
store. Cautious use is being made of technologies such as 3D visualisations, but this is some-
what limited. The most important technologies being used are search functions and viewing
catalogues using zoom functions for photographs. In some cases (one-third) it is also possible
to leave feedback and view other reviews, but that too is only on a limited scale. As regards mo-
bile phones, one-third of the shops have an Android app and almost half have an iPhone app.
However, you are hardly ever asked to install the app in the store or on the website. This small-
scale study therefore seems to confirm the statement: "There is a vast distance between retailers'
understanding of the value of many of today's technical solutions and actual use - even though
many of those technologies have been available for quite some time" (Kilcourse & Rowen, 2014,
p. ii). Almost a year later we conducted the same study again (Moes & Van Vliet, 2014) to see
if there were any differences. In the course of almost a year not much has changed, but there
were a few differences. The amount of stores that offered a loyalty program increased from 49%
to 57%, more stores ask customers in store to use a certain Twitter hashtag (increase of 3% to
9%) and to visit their website (40% to 51%). Some things have also changed online. In webshops,
customers are more frequently asked to use their mobile phone to complete a certain task (4%
to 15%) and it is now even more common to give customers a full refund for returned goods
ordered online than it already was (increase from 90% to 98%).
ORGANISATIONAL INNOVATIONS
The organisation domain in the STOF model concerns innovations in collaboration with other
parties in the value chain and the organisation of the processes for delivering the service to the
customer. An innovation that has been ongoing for somewhat longer in the value chain is what
is known as 'fast fashion'. For many fashion retailers, the process commences with the supplier
and designer who design a new collection a year beforehand. New collections are, for exam-
ple, launched twice per year in the store, after which the consumer buys the clothing. With 'fast
fashion' the starting point is the buying pattern of the consumers, which is monitored closely:
what is popular, what is the big seller, et cetera. The store manager then places orders with
designers on the basis of this information. The logistics process is configured in such a way that
the new collection is on display in the store within two weeks. This involves higher logistics and
production costs, but, on the other hand, only products are sold for which there is a demand, so
they can be sold at full price, and little of the collection ends up in the sales. Examples of stores
that use this process are Zara (Inditex), Peacocks and Forever21. This so-called chain reversal is
seen as an important future strategy for physical stores (Molenaar, 2011).
Another innovation for which various examples can be given is online collaboration. For small,
independent retailers it is difficult to compete online against the large platforms due to the
costs and the knowhow required and also because it is difficult to attract sufficient consumers
to a relatively unknown website or webshop. An increasing number of major players such as
Amazon and Bol.com give small shops the possibility to use their platform. The benefit for such
a platform is that their product range increases even further, and their position as a one-stop-
shop is strengthened. For the small retailers, they not only benefit from all kinds of webshop
logistics processes (order fulfilment, secure payments) but the penetration to potential custom-
ers is increased many times compared to them having just their own webshop. In the fashion
industry, the Scandinavian firm Miinto is a good example of this. This platform provides inde-
pendent fashion retailers with their online webshop, which is part of the general catalogue of
the platform. The fashion retailers can also ‘buy in’ other services from Miinto such as collection
photography and transaction handling. Other examples are etsy.com, jeansonline.nl and top-
shoe.nl. The collaboration does not need to be exclusively based on product category (jeans,
shoes) but can also, for example, be based on location – an example of which is the 9straatjes
in Amsterdam (9straatjesonline.com).
SELL ON MIINTO
The formerly Scandinavian company Miinto is a perfect example of how to achieve online
success. Miinto offers independent fashion retailers a platform for them to spread their on-
line wings. Boutiques not only get their own online spot and are listed in the general cata-
logue of the platform, they can, for instance, also outsource the photography of their collec-
tions and the payment transactions to Miinto. Individual stores suddenly become e-tailers
that can now profit from the power of online commerce. Boutiques can easily sign up by
contacting Miinto. They will then check whether the boutique meets the conditions they think
apply to their company. After a boutique is signed up, it can use Miinto’s resources to sell
products online and even use their photo studio. Many small players are becoming a large
force in the online market. Miinto is now the largest fashion store in Denmark and is currently
expanding worldwide.
3534
However, the majority of the innovations encountered in the organisational domain concern
logistics. For example, the smart integration of stock systems so that it is possible to see whether
and where a product is still available in the store or online. There are also so-called stockless
stores where customers can see the complete stock or collection in a physical store using iPads
or large video walls, place their orders and have the products delivered to their homes. At most,
there are some demo products available in the store. An example of this is the Scottish retailer
House of Fraser. The vast majority of the examples are, however, about delivery of products to
customers. In fashion, delivery is one of the most important aspects of consumer satisfaction
(Peters & Witte, 2013). Customer satisfaction is not only an important criterion for paying a lot
of attention to delivery; the costs are also important. In 2012, a quarter of the 88 million online
orders resulted in a return. For fashion this was as high as 60%, while for electronics it was only
5% (PwC, 2013). Returns and the logistics surrounding them cost a lot of money. As long as it
remains difficult to implement suitable sizing online and to properly convey the colour and tex-
ture properties returns will, for the time being, continue to be an important aspect of the service
and the costs.
Although several criteria play a role in delivery, such as speed, convenience, costs and reliability,
for the consumer it appears that the ability to remain in control is important. Research shows
that the ability to choose a fixed delivery time is the most important aspect (31%), followed by
pick-up points from a local store (24%), next-day delivery (24%) and same-day delivery (8%)
(PwC, 2013). Schut et al. (2014) also found that being able to determine the time of delivery is
an important criterion for the customer (90%), while this is only offered in 12% of the cases. Free
returns are also a wish that emerged, with around 60% of consumers stating that this is import-
ant. In reality, only 15% of deliveries can be returned free of charge. A further important aspect
of returns is: quick and clear instructions about the return process and money credited to the
customer’s account.
All kinds of innovative logistics solutions are now being used, from ordering online and in-store
collection and/or returns (Click & Collect concepts) to online reservation of an item of clothing
in a particular store (Hunkemöller's Check & Reserve ) and the delivery of ordered products to
specific pick-up points, for which experiments are already being conducted with fitting rooms at
pick-up points so that pick-up and returns can be combined (see www.deburen.nl). These can
be staffed pick-up points (filling stations, schools, libraries, stores) or unstaffed pick-up points
(safe-deposit boxes). In the Netherlands, there are already around 6000 pick-up points (Schut
et al., 2014). The ideal solution is not easy to find, so a customised solution sounds logical. How-
ever, there are many variables that have to be taken into account which, in any event, include
the type of product (size, non-food/fresh/frozen, requirement for personal contact for signing
or installation, for example) and the type of customer. One customer will prefer speed, another
convenience or price. Harmonisation between product, customer and process does not only
require good operational implementation, but also strategic choices about how to deal with
deliveries (see Schut et al., 2014).
BIJENKORF: BUY ONLINE, COLLECT OFFLINE
The effort and the costs that both companies and customers undertake to get a package
delivered at one’s house, often leads to a real challenge. Therefore, a logistic innovation that
is becoming increasingly popular is ordering online and collecting the items in the store. On
the one hand it offers consumers the option to pick up their items whenever it suits them
best. On the other hand it saves the retailer, in this case Bijenkorf, a lot of time trying to get
the package delivered to the right address.
Bijenkorf’s main goal with this ‘buy online, collect offline-principle’ is to offer a better service
to their customers. The benefit for consumers is that they don’t have to be at home during
specific hours, just waiting for their order to arrive. They could also try the garments in the
store and return the items if not wanted. Retailers don’t have to stop at the house multiple
times per week to see if the customer is at home. Additionally, they have an extra point of
contact with the consumer.
The buying process is very simple. First, the customer orders items online. There is no min-
imum amount to be spent. If customers order before 9 pm, they can pick up their items the
day after at the service desk of the Bijenkorf. Customers receive an e-mail stating that their
order is ready for pick-up. Of course, some ID is required, such as a driver’s license. Items will
be reserved for 14 days. If not picked up, they will be sent back to the warehouse.
FINANCIAL INNOVATIONS
The financial domain concerns the way in which incomes are generated from a specific service
or product, and the way in which risks, investments and revenues are shared between the
different actors in the network. An example of this is innovations in pricing. Price comparison
websites (kieskeurig.nl; preisroboter.de) provide insight into the prices of different providers and
lead to price adjustments on a daily basis in order to be able to sell at 'lowest prices'. Prices
are adjusted dynamically on the basis of demand, competitors and seasonal fluctuations and
data about other variables in which patterns are discovered that determine the sale of products
(for example, see Daphne Stores: http://vimeo.com/45975732). Alternatively, 'exclusive' clubs
are formed in which members can buy clothing at a substantially reduced price (www.vente -
exclusive.com, fashiondeal.nl, Brandinvites.nl). Loyalty programmes (customer cards) and also
coupons are making a return with providers such as Groupon, Sweetdeal and Friendstix, where
substantial price reductions can be achieved by means of temporary and local special offers.
A considerable amount of innovations concern payment methods, which are often managed
by technological development and are focussed on customer convenience. A collaboration
between Samsung and Paypal means that Paypal is pre-installed on the Gear2 Watch. A de-
velopment like Near Field Communication (NFC) incorporated in, amongst other things, bank
cards or mobile phones makes it possible to make payments easily and quickly. Contactless
Research shows that ability to choose a fixed
delivery time is the most important
3736
payment systems are, like the name already suggest, systems whereby customers can pay
for their goods without having to insert their card into a payment terminal. Signatures and PIN
codes are also no longer a necessity. Just keep your card (or even mobile phone) close to the
machine in order to pay. The embedded chip and antenna enable consumers to swipe their
card over a reader at the point of sale. In the Netherlands you can pay amounts up to 25 euro in
this manner. If you have to pay a higher amount, you still have to insert your PIN code.
POWATAG
PowaTag is a new payment enabling technology that claims to seamlessly integrate the
physical and online experience, thereby transforming the future of shopping. Powa Tech-
nologies introduced an app that enables consumers to purchase items directly via their
smartphone while scanning items that they are interested in. With this app, consumers can
purchase items from sources such as visual media, articles, announcements on events or
radio- and television commercials. PowaTag combines mobile commerce with bluetooth
geolocation technology, which makes it possible to buy items impulsively. Impulse buying is
facilitated in this way. By scanning the item, which must be available in PowaTag’s database
of course, the product is recognised and can then be purchased by the user. Giving personal
information, such as your name and billing information (just like one would do at a regular
webshop), enables the customer to buy the item. Additionally, (physical) retailers can send
special offers to consumers that are near to a site equipped with PowaTag bluetooth bea-
cons. And as you can already guess, PowaTag also tracks what consumers actually do and
purchase with the app.
Transactions do not always need to involve money or alternative currencies (Bitcoins). The cam-
paign team responsible for Kellogg’s cereal brand Special K created an experiment in 2013
where consumers could pay by simply posting something while using the hashtag #SpecialKPO.
Kellogg’s goal was to find new ways to interact with consumers and thereby also get the oppor-
tunity to collect consumer data. Additionally, as Nick Scotcher, marketing manager of snacks at
Kellogg, mentioned: “We wanted to give people something in return for the things they already
do naturally on social media.”9 The something that consumers got in return was a sample of
Special K Cracker Crips, not the real full product.
A more serious development is that of consumer-to-consumer transactions. On the one hand
this concerns marketplaces where consumers can trade between each other, with the most well-
known examples being eBay.com and marktplaats.nl. This has expanded into all kinds of prod-
ucts and services, such as travel (airbnb.com), hiring a car from someone local (snappcar.com),
selling homemade products (etsy.com) and peer-to-peer lending without the intervention of a
bank (prosper.com). On the other hand, it is also about borrowing and exchanging, as is the
case on peerby.com, where you can borrow things from local people, or thuisafgehaald.nl
where you share meals with your neighbours. This so-called 'C2C-market' has grown enor-
mously in recent years. However, there are calls for some scepticism about all of the enthu-
siastic stories and the sharing economy. For example, SnappCar's alleged success is open to
question (Wijnen, 2014). Sharing personal goods (car, telephone, clothing) is indeed something
completely different to sharing digital goods or your tastes (Spotify, LibraryThing). It is expected
that 'sharing' will play a less significant role in fashion because consumers say they are less
willing to share clothes (Shopping2020, 2014a).10
INSIGHTS AND CHALLENGES AMSTERDAM FASHION RETAILERS:
SOCIAL MEDIA
Almost all interviewed fashion retailers say that social media are an important communication
channel for their business. Reasons to use these channels differ at a variety of levels. First, there
is the practical level. As accounts on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter are free of charge, it obvi-
ously cannot hurt to try. Online presence is guaranteed. This applies to almost all fashion retail-
ers and is often used to present the collection visually. Here, social media are used as a channel
to present the collection and activities. Then, there is the second, somewhat more strategic ar-
gument. Online activities on for example Facebook and Instagram are visible to retailers, which
enable them to monitor responses, views, likes and so on, and act directly on this information.
Here, social media are used to monitor how online readers react to and interact with (potential)
customers. The third and last argument is a clear strategic argument that shows that digital is
part of the organisation’s heart. Social media are part of a multi-channel strategy and the retailer
wants to be relevant to its target group by presenting different promotional campaigns to differ-
ent target groups. “Digital media are not only cheaper, but you can also target them a lot better
and hence calculate the ROI more easily” (Anonymous retailer H, 2014). Sometimes collections
are also sold via other webshops (such as Zalando, Wehkamp) in order to ensure that retailers
do not miss the opportunity to make contact with a (potential) customer. Because, as one retailer
puts it: “Customers choose the channel where they are at that specific moment. As a company,
you have to follow your customers, you have to be where they are” (idem).
Social media also involve challenges for the retailers. The retailers all mention that they use
social media especially because they are free, but they do find it hard to use them in a positive
manner. How does one deal with complaints? Or what to do with fake accounts, promising
discounts and free gifts that are not available? What to do with the comments and data that
it produces? When do you know when you are doing well? Does 10,000 likes represent good
positioning? A lot of questions arise about how to deal with the (potential) customer, how to
create a good dialogue, how to use the data that companies receive and what kind of actions
should be related to it. What percentage of those 10,000 likes will actually buy something of your
brand? Recommend your brand? Or discourage others to buy something of your brand? The
interviewed retailers are whistling in the dark.
39
THE SHOPPER
THE CONSUMER & THE SHOPPER
All of the innovations that have been mentioned are ultimately aimed at adding value for the
consumer. However, not all consumers are the same. A party game that is just as entertaining
as predicting technological developments is characterising consumers. This is not the exclusive
domain of the retail sector. Museum and archive visitor types have been introduced such as
sniffers, grazers, excavators, snackers, educators, nomads, butterflies and grasshoppers (Van
Vliet, 2009). The shopping public has to tolerate less poetic designations and more Taranti-
no-like names such as 'the keeper', 'the banker', 'the hunter' and 'the courier' (Sansolo, 2012).
Characterising the consumer or the shopper – the person who makes the actual purchase
– has a history going back around 60 years. In Stone’s first typology, devised in 1954, the charac-
terisations of the economic shopper (oriented towards for price and quality) and the apathetic
shopper (shopping is a necessity and a chore) had already appeared (Westbrook & Black, 1985).
The importance of a shopper typology is that it gives the retailer the possibility to make better
decisions about products offered and special offers (Westbrook & Black, 1985).
A frequently recurring contrast in the characterisation of shoppers is that of 'doing the shopping'
versus 'going shopping', which is the difference between: "Shopping for and the recreational
shopping around; the latter being an autonomous realm of experience and action in which the
economic (instrumental) aspect has been marginalized." (Falk & Campbell, 1997, p. 6). This con-
cerns the distinction between instrumental (doing the shopping) and recreational (going shop-
ping) (Westbrook & Black, 1985; Hewer & Campbell, 1997; Molenaar, 2011): "Going shopping is
a vague activity, an extravagance - literally, 'wandering out'. It is open-ended, with no precise
plans or destinations: you can spend all day or not, you may just look and not buy. Going
shopping is pleasurable, and possibly transgressive and excessive: you may spend too much
time or too much money. Doing the shopping, on the other hand, suggests an obligation or
a regular routine. It implies something both planned and limited: the definite article, with no
extras or deviations. Going shopping points to fashion, clothes and leisure; doing the shopping
is food shopping, for the most part regarded as a chore. Food is necessary, fashion is fun and
spontaneous." (Bowlby, 1997, p. 102).
38
41
Lehtonen & Mäenpää (1997) described these two types of shoppers in more detail by contrast-
ing them with each other (see Table 2). This distinction does not say that both forms cannot oc-
cur simultaneously: instrumental aims can play a role when going shopping, and when doing
the shopping we can also amuse ourselves (Falk & Campbell, 1997). Incidentally, shopping for
pleasure is not something that has only occurred recently due to the increase in affluence, it is
already referred to in the classic figure of the flâneur/flânueuse and has a longer history than
one often assumes (Stobart, 2008).
Shopping as a pleasurable social activity Shopping as a necessary maintenance activity
Spending of time Scarcity of time
An end in itself A means
Does not necessarily imply making purchases Always implies making purchases
Impulsiveness Planning
Dreaminess and self-illusory hedonism Realistic satisfaction of needs
Effectiveness unimportant As effective as possible
Pleasure Necessity
Outside the routine of everyday An everyday routine amongst others
Emphasis on experience Emphasis on rationality
Playfulness Seriousness
Table 2: Two types of shoppers (Lehtonen & Mäenpää, 1997, p. 144)
More than two decades later we continue to see the same characterisations in a Shopping2020/
GfK publication (GfK, 2013). For example, this report makes a distinction between the shopper
who regards shopping as a necessity and the shopper who regards shopping as a pleasurable
activity. The study also raises an aspect that Lehtonen & Mäenpää (1997) used in their charac-
terisation of these two types of shoppers and introduces it as a separate dimension: planned/
prepared versus unplanned/spontaneous. The intersection of these two opposites or axes pro-
duces a profile of four types of shoppers (Figure 2):
1. The calculating shopper: 'shopping is like work'. This type of shopper includes men and
women, and all age groups are represented in it, though the 40-64 age group is more
prevalent. Average income is lower than average, as is the academic level. This shopper
lives in a family with children more often than the average. Purchases are planned. The
preference is for own brands, and they are not sensitive to fashion or new trends. They
believe that accessibility and parking facilities are important and do not find small spe-
cialist business to be particularly important. Price is the general motive for product selec-
tion. This shopper shops in well-known retail chains and well-known webshops. Online,
prices are mainly compared because it is easy to do so, and a quality mark is important,
as is the ease of return. With regard to reviews, those of acquaintances are preferred. In
the future, this shopper will buy more online because of the decline in local retail. Typ-
ical stores that are visited are V&D, Wehkamp, Hornbach, C&A, Bonprix, Scapino and
kieskeurig.nl.
2. The deliberate shopper: 'shopping is like sport'. This type of shopper also includes just
as many men as women. All ages are represented, but the average age is lower than
in the other groups. Income is above average and academic level is relatively high. This
shopper sets out well prepared, orientates himself/herself using the Internet, chooses
quality, is brand-sensitive, specialists stores are preferred and he/she likes to talk to ex-
perts in order to confirm their research. Online is easy to fit in with the hectic lifestyle and is
used for comparing products and gathering more information. In the store, they seek the
touch and feel and personal advice. Accessibility and an extensive range are important.
Greater value is placed on experts than on their own social circle. In the future, online will
be used even more for preparing for the offline visit. Typical stores visited are Duthler, We,
de Bijenkorf, Cool Blue, Tommy Hilfiger and Wehkamp.nl.
3. The passive shopper: 'shopping is like a visit to the dentist'. This type of shopper is more
often a man than a woman. All ages are represented, but the average age is higher than
in the other groups. Income is average and academic level is relatively low. This shop-
per only goes shopping when it is absolutely necessary – at well-known retail chains in
shopping centres or at local retailers where there is ample opportunity for parking. This
shopper is sensitive to store staff recommendations or those made by acquaintances.
Online is especially easy and well organised but the personal attention is lacking. This
shopper goes for shopping convenience and minimum risk and mainly wants a simple
buying process. Because of the decline in local retail this shopper will shop more online
in the future, with a few well-known retailers that provide good service. Typical stores that
are visited are C&A, Hubo, TerStal and Hema.
Spontaneous / Unplanned
Passive
shopper
Passionate
shopper
Calculating
shopper
Deliberate
shopper
Shopping
=
necessity
Shopping
=
pleasurable activity
Prepared
Figure 2: Four types of shoppers (GfK, 2013)
40
43
4. The passionate shopper: 'shopping is a hobby'. This type of shopper will more often be a
woman than a man. All ages are represented, but the younger age categories are more
strongly represented within this group. Income is lower on average, and academic level
is average. Shopping is a pleasurable activity, can be done anywhere, is a social experi-
ence and is relaxing. This shopper likes to be tempted and is driven by brand image as
well as price and quality. Prefers to shop where there are a lot of stores at one location,
with major brands and retail chains present. Shops mainly have to provide atmosphere
and inspiration. Shops online and offline, and likes a wide choice. Online mainly means
reduced experience, time between purchase and delivery and a fuss about delivery and
returns. Opinions of family/friends are important, also via social media. Typical stores that
are visited are Zara, Action, Zalando, Primark, H&M and Vero Moda.
ALTERNATIVE VIEWS ON THE SHOPPER
The descriptions of the different shoppers remain an eclectic mishmash of psycho-demographic
characteristics. There are at least two distinct alternative views that can provide a sharper pic-
ture of the different types of shoppers. The first alternative is to look at the underlying motives.
A study like the one by Westbrook & Black (1985) shows that a focus on underlying motivations
reveals a more differentiated picture of the 'recreational', 'economic' and 'apathetic' shopper
than is often depicted. However, there is little agreement about the underlying motivations of
shoppers (also see Lesser & Kamal, 1991). Performing a meta-analysis of the studies already
conducted, comparable with the meta-analysis of studies on the motivations of visitors to festi-
vals (Van Vliet, 2012) seems to be a logical step forward in this discussion.
A second alternative is to look at 'consuming practices', in other words the characterisations
of shopping patterns: 'What do people do when they consume?'. Those patterns do vary con-
siderably between people and situations such that it would be inadequate to explain them
exclusively on the basis of the (economic) benefit and the (symbolic) significance of the object
that is being consumed (Holt, 1995), or on the basis of fixed types of shoppers (GfK, 2013). Ac-
cording to Holt (1995), consumption has to be regarded as a form of social act where people use
consumption objects in different ways. He concludes that there are four classifications of such
practices based on two axes: the structure of consuming (focused on the object or focused on
the interpersonal) and the purpose of consuming (a purpose in itself, in other words, 'autotelic'
or instrumental for another purpose). This leads to four types of metaphors for describing the
practices, which in Holt’s study is explained by means of the 'consumption' of a baseball game
(Figure 3):
1. 'Consuming as experience': the subjective emotional reactions to consumption objects.
This means the ability to interpret the object: what it is, how it works, what conventions
are applicable, et cetera (understanding the 'world of baseball'), the evaluation of the
object against standards, expectations, previous experiences (for example, on the basis
of baseball statistics), and the emotional appreciation of those (ecstasy when there’s a
home run or admiration for the elegance of a throw).
2. 'Consuming as integration': mastering and manipulating the (symbolic) significance of
the consumption object in relation to your identity. This means: acquiring knowledge
about the object so that one becomes competent or by wearing visible references to the
object (logos, paraphernalia), trying to become part of the object or its makers (becoming
a fan) and the personalising of the object by linking personal objects to it (attire during
games).
3. 'Consuming as classification': the buying, possessing and displaying of consumption ob-
jects in order to identify with a group and thus achieve affiliations and distinction: "shop-
ping as a performance becomes important in shaping status and identity." (Stobart, 2008,
p. 14). Whilst this is easy (to show) for material goods, for ‘services’ it is indirect – for exam-
ple, through photographs and souvenirs that prove you were there or by demonstrating
expertise (telling stories, being aware of conventions).
4. 'Consuming as play': using consumption objects as a play element in social intercourse.
On the one hand, this concerns the use of consumption objects for exchanging shared
experiences (telling tall stories). On the other hand, it means using the consumption ob-
jects to entertain each other (imitating commentators for example).
Figure 3: Consuming practices (Holt, 1995)
These 'consuming practices' occur in variable relationships: "One important implication is that
consuming is never just an experience, a disinterested end in itself. Consumer actions directed
toward consumption objects have many faces: they are lived experiences that enlighten, bore,
entertain, or raise our ire, but they are also means that we use to draw ourselves closer to
valued objects and resources that we use to engage others - to impress, to befriend, or simply
to play." (Holt, 1995, p. 15). That varying relationship is not just down to the fact that the different
practices can play a role simultaneously, but that they can also occur consecutively. Consuming
is a process in which practices can vary.
PURPOSE OF ACTTION
Consuming
as
Experience
Autotelic Actions Instrumental Actions
Consuming
as
Integration
Consuming
as
Play
Consuming
as
Classification
STRUCTURE
OF ACTION
Object
Actions
Interpersonal
Actions
42
45
To view consuming as a process raises the question of possible steps or stages. In the character-
isation of this process as a 'customer journey' or 'shopping journey', there are three stages that
are always mentioned: orientation, selection and decision/transaction (Hofste & Teeuw, 2012).
A more detailed classification from the perspective of the consumer has six stages: awareness
(the recognition that there is a need), collect (collecting information about products and suppli-
ers), evaluate alternatives (evaluating the various alternatives), decide (the actual decision to
buy), use (the use of the product) and evaluate (the evaluation of the product and the buying
process).11 All kinds of developments have influenced all of these stages in recent years: from
search engines (collect) and comparison websites (evaluate alternatives) to talking on social
media about purchases (evaluate).
Discriminating different stages in the consuming process, possibly comes across as a com-
pulsory, linear and rational process. Of course, enough examples can be found where the
customer journey is not linear and the shopper does not always act purposefully: "there is a
tendency to present the shopper as both an information-processor, a problem-solver and a ra-
tional maximiser of utility. The limitations of such a model have long been known. Apart from the
a priori nature of the assumptions that they contain, such perspectives ignore all the evidence
that shows (…) that problem-solving behaviour is a relatively rare occurrence, and that habitual
behaviour is a far more common feature of consumer behaviour." (Hewer & Campbell, 1997,
p. 188). However, this does not detract at all from the conceptualising for recognising different
phases - we just have to take into account a much more dynamic process. Furthermore, the
fact that all kinds of unconscious processes that can be manipulated play a role in the customer
journey does not mean that the consumer has become entirely 'irrational' (Maas, 2013). That
would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
From a retailer’s perspective two further stages are often added to the previously mentioned
three stages: delivery and relationship management/after-sales (customer care) (Schut et al.,
2014). Although this appears to be a logical addition it is necessary to realise that we are deal-
ing with two processes: a consumer process and a supplier/retailer process, which are not
organised in the same way. The consumer is, of course, also involved in a delivery, but clicking
a button on a website to have the package delivered to a local branch is somewhat different to
the fulfilment of this order. From a retailer's perspective, marketing is more likely to look like the
following: 'create demand, identify where product could be purchased, expose and engage
the shopper, capture transaction data, apply lessons learned to the next marketing action' (Blatt,
2012). The two perspectives or processes are difficult to understand in one 'journey', just like
some concepts are reasoned more from the customer perspective (omni-channel) and others
more from the retailer perspective (cross-media) (see Van Vliet, 2014). The fact that the customer
process and the retailer process ‘touch’ is obvious, and has recently been expressed in the in-
creasingly popular term 'touchpoints' (Shopping2020, 2014b). However, a clear definition of the
term touchpoints is lacking: theoretical embedding, conceptual definition and operationaliza-
tion are still rarely encountered. Furthermore, the question arises about where touchpoints differ
from the ‘old’ term of 'service encounter' as 'a period of time during which a consumer directly
interacts with a service' (Clarke & Schmidt, 1995).
INSIGHTS AND CHALLENGES AMSTERDAM FASHION RETAILERS: PER-
SONALISATION
A major issue that is mentioned during the interviews is the notion of personalisation, in many
different forms and expressions. Fashion retailers clearly mention the importance of ‘personal’
contact with customers, whether physically or digitally. It seems that boutiques tend to have a
preference for personal contact in its physical form, partly because they state that this is one of
their brand values, which reinforces their business proposition. Physical personalisation exists
in the form of personal advice, VIP treatments and exclusive loyal customer events in the store.
Digital personalisation is often related to differentiation in promotions, which can be accom-
plished by membership cards or insights into the buying history of customers. Some retailers
mention using more innovative technologies to do this, such as interactive mirrors, but also ex-
plain that this is not something that is appropriate for their budget. They are, however, interested
in it, and some of them follow developments very closely.
An important shift was therefore noticeable in recent years: it is less about branding and
push-strategies, and more about listening to your customer and what a brand and its products
can do for them. “It’s important to build a relationship with the customer and that they become
a fan of your brand. Then they become ambassadors of your brand when they are sharing their
experiences about you on their Facebook page" (Anonymous retailer H, 2014). Retailers believe
that honesty and emphasizing how the brand can cater to customers’ needs, will be important
values in the upcoming years.
There are also a couple of challenges involved with regard to personalisation. There is the dis-
cussion on privacy issues and regulations that might obstruct obtaining data that could really
add value to one’s personalised offering (see section ‘Shopping in 2020’). Besides that, if fashion
retailers really want to offer personalised promotions, the retailers would have to be able to
follow the customers in all channels: “Sometimes customers come into my store and tell me: I
really like this jacket. But if I order this online, I can get it for 15 Euros less. What can you do about
that?” A true story, told by a retailer in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen (Bomont). Customers are increasing-
ly aware of the possibilities that they have online – and offline – and apparently feel free to start
negotiating about in-store prices. Although interviewed retailers in Amsterdam did not share
these experiences, they do confirm the difficulties around online pricing and how to survive in
such a fickle environment. Some retailers mention that their added value is therefore to offer that
extra service, such as free clothing alteration or special events.
44
Discriminating different stages in the consuming process, possibly comes
across as a compulsory, linear and rational process
47
Switching channels and brands has become really easy for customers, as it is literally just one
click away. But the main issue with the changes in channels might not be that shops have the
feeling that they are losing customers to online channels, but the fact that they are not able to
track them. Merging on and offline channels is high on the priority list of the interviewed Amster-
dam retailers. Not just to create rich profiles and learn more about the behaviour of customers
and alter your strategy appropriately, but also to advise customers better: “When a customer
comes in the physical store and is already logged in on the app as a member, then we are able
to see her buying history and our staff can do a suggestion what she might also find interesting.
[..] And if a customer is searching for a panty on the mobile website and later on a desktop, I
would like to be able to recognise them and respond to it by offering them a discount. That is
the ultimate goal in a multi-channel strategy” (Anonymous retailer H, 2014). Additionally, stores
would have a better insight into whether customers actually just leave the store and buy an item
elsewhere, or leave the store and buy your product online. Merging channels therefore not only
relates to better and personal offerings for customers, but also greater ability to divide sales
targets into off and online channels. This will, no doubt, remain an issue in the upcoming years,
as it is very hard to track the same customers both physically and digitally, especially when they
do not possess a membership card.
46
49
CROSS-MEDIA AND RETAIL
CHANNELS, CHANNELS AND MORE CHANNELS
The question about the effect of (technological) developments in the near future and the question
about who will make use of them, why and in which way, are necessary but relatively generic
questions and are not specific for cross-media research. The actual developments do indicate
that the question about the orchestration of all possibilities of, for example, a retailer communi-
cating with a customer is one of increasing complexity and urgency (Van Vliet, 2008). It is expect-
ed that there will be further shifts in channel use in the coming years. In the Wolters study (2013),
according to the experts the following channels will grow: social media (from 4% to 6% share),
in-store online sales (from 5% to 8%) and generalist retailer webshops (from 15% to 19%) at the
expense of brand and producer webshops (from 31% to 24%). By 2020, there will be greater use
of tablets (from 22% to 33%) and smartphones (from 10% to 21%) as sales devices, and this will
be at the expense of laptops (from 32% to 15%) and desktops (from 31% to 10%). For fashion, by
2020 the estimated share of sales via a tablet is 26% for clothing and 31% for shoes and personal
lifestyle. This shifting of channel use will require organisations to adapt their cross-media strate-
gy appropriately to secure the orchestration of all of the options offered by (media)channels. And
who knows, maybe tablets will eventually be replaced by virtual salespersons.
VIRTUAL SALESPERSONS
In a store you need staff. Gathering information from a salesperson is one of the benefits of
physical stores. But in Australia they invented virtual salesmen. Would this work? It is best
compared with a projector that projects a semi 3D-salesperson on an acrylic cut-out. Using
the latest holographic projection technology, someone is filmed while delivering a presen-
tation. The footage is then rear projected onto an acrylic cut-out that precisely matches the
body shape of that person in order to give the impression of a semi-3D image. So it is not
really a 3D hologram, but it looks like it. When finished, retailers can put the projector wher-
ever they want. This ‘person’ can provide information about, for example, products. It can
even ‘hold’ items like flyers or tablets. Reasons stated by Vision2Watch why retailers should
consider purchasing such a projector, are that it could “offer an exciting and promotional
alternative to the tired old human being” and because “it perfectly delivers your advertising
message (over and over)”.
48
51
The multitude of communication channels enable stores to communicate with their customers in
a variety of ways and at a variety of times (Rangaswamy & Van Bruggen, 2005; Van Vliet, 2008).
Using several channels also allows the possibility of providing improved service via channel
integration, such as online ordering and offline collection, or offline returns of products ordered
online. Online orientation and offline buying – known as webrooming - are undertaken by the
vast majority of consumers (more than 80%); offline orientation and online buying – known as
showrooming – is still considerably less, at just 44% for fashion (DigitasLBi, 2014). The Internet
has specifically encouraged a cross-media approach because, for example, it has become
very cost-effective to offer services and products through webshops. This service can result in
greater customer satisfaction, increased loyalty, improved sales and larger market share. A
cross-media approach has positive consequences for sales, consumers who use more chan-
nels buy more, they are more active, and they are more satisfied (Sharma & Mehrotra, 2007):
"The average multi-channel consumer spends more than a single channel consumer. This is
partly because multi-channel consumers have on average a higher income and spending pat-
tern than other consumers. The exact increased amount in spending of multi-channel consum-
ers ranges from two to ten times as much as single channel consumers." (Van Ameijden et al.,
2012, p. 6). However, the generality of this statement is not encountered in all empirical studies
(Teerling et al., 2007) and Wolters (2013), for example, finds that the omni-channel customer
does, in fact, spend more but is less loyal. Retailers do say though that the expected increase
in sales is the most important reason for a multi-channel strategy (Van Ameijden et al., 2012).
Each channel has its type of consumers and its motivations for using that channel. Motivation
for using a channel can be economic advantage, product range, convenience, social status,
opportunity, freedom of choice, greater satisfaction, social interaction, et cetera. It is not just
the motivation that can differ per channel; the loyalty displayed to a channel and the degree at
which cross-buying occurs can also differ. The latter refers to the level of ‘reward’ for the con-
sumer and the time that it takes (channel adaption duration) to switch from one channel to an-
other. This switching pattern is a significant challenge (Weltevreden, 2012). The most commonly
used ways of encouraging online visitors into a physical store are: 1) special offers online can
also be used in the store, 2) the webshop looks like the store, 3) products ordered online are
collected in the store. Conversely, the most commonly used ways of encouraging store visitors
to go the webshop are: 1) URL visible in the store, 2) webshop and store look alike, 3) special
offers in the store can also be used online (Van Ameijden et al., 2012). Fashion businesses still
make little use of online strategies for encouraging store visits (Boels & Weltevreden, 2013). An
example of a similar looking webshop and physical store is Burberry, where the fundamental
principle is that each element of the website is recreated offline (Williams, 2014).
BURBERRY REGENT FLAGSHIP STORE
“There was a time when sales assistants at Burberry would have carried tape measures.
These days, those working at the luxury retailer’s 545 stores, concessions, outlets and fran-
chises across the world are rarely seen without iPads.” In the Burberry flagship store at
Regent Street all sorts of new digital solutions are offered to the customer to enhance the
experience. A ‘magic’ mirror tells shoppers more about the item they are currently carrying
with them, mannequins wear the same outfits as shown on the website, there is a giant
screen that can be used to show the latest shows and they even put up a secret stage. The
whole concept is to integrate off- and online to stimulate an immersive experience. In their
video, Burberry explains that they want to tell authentic stories. And to tell authentic stories,
they also believe that the language spoken is very important, and, as Angela Ahrendts puts
it, “their [consumers] language was rapidly becoming digital”. Hence, Burberry decided it
should create that authentic experience by using both physical and digital languages and
use the best of both to make it an immersive experience.
Consumers who still only use one channel for gathering information and deciding to buy are
becoming a minority (Stone et al., 2002; Rangaswamy & Van Bruggen, 2005; Teerling et al.,
2007; DigitasLBi, 2014). However, harmonising and managing channels, for example, in order
to link customer data across different channels appears to be a significant challenge. The result
of this is that returning customers are not recognised (whilst, for example, they are entitled to
a discount) or customers are bombarded with the same information from different channels. It
is about the integration of cultures, technologies, marketing strategies, elements of the organ-
isation and understanding different consumer patterns; not exactly a trivial matter (PwC, 2007).
Even more important: there are also negative ’drivers’ (Sharma & Mehrotra, 2007). Firstly, the
revenue drops when multiple channels are used: the revenues from a new channel are often
lower than from existing channels. After all, those existing channels have the ‘easy’ customers
tied to them. Furthermore, the costs of the acquisition and the maintenance of a new channel
place pressure on the earnings, also because channels are still often maintained separately
as far as the organisation is concerned due to their own (technical) infrastructure, staffing and
management (Stone et al., 2002; Rangaswamy & Van Bruggen, 2005). Secondly, there is ‘sales
cannibalization’. In other words, the channels compete against each other for the total revenues.
The most important way of preventing this is not to have price discrimination across different
channels, to have complementary product ranges and to have an integrated stocking system
(Van Ameijden et al., 2012).12 Thirdly, channels can also come into conflict with each other be-
cause they differ in the information about products and services, for example, or because it is
not clear whether the same products can be bought online and offline (Rangaswamy & Van
Bruggen, 2005). Price differences can also result in conflicts and undesirable behaviour from the
perspective of the business. Consumers also make use of this by gathering extensive informa-
tion and having the product demonstrated in the store and then buying via the Internet.
50
Online orientation and offline buying – known as webrooming - are
undertaken by the vast majority of consumers; offline orientation and online
buying – known as showrooming – is still considerably less
Times are difficult for the physical store
53
THE PHYSICAL STORE IN A CROSS-MEDIA CONTEXT
The latter touches on a prominent concern in the retail sector: the role of the physical store.
Times are difficult for the physical store. Newspapers regularly carry reports about the increas-
ing number of empty stores and inner-city degeneration (Rijlaarsdam, 2013; Toonen, 2014) and
unsettling reports are published about the loss of the high street (Erich, 2014). Reported causes
for this are: the rise in online competition, direct selling by brand manufacturers, municipal poli-
cy, changing consumer buying patterns and a separation in the steps in the buying process as a
result of which orientation, selection and transaction no longer necessarily have to take place in
the physical store: "These days customers buy in a different way than they did in the past. Firstly
we look on the Internet at what we want to buy, the prices and we compare products and then
we decide where we want to buy. Buying in the store has become a choice and no longer a
necessity." (Molenaar, 2011, p. 10).
The importance of the store is often substantiated by a number of specific figures that are re-
peatedly quoted – namely that 70% of buying decisions are made in the store and 68% of
them are impulse buys (Stahlberg & Maila, 2012). This has caused a shift in budget to in-store
advertising, eye-catching packaging and in-store special offers. However, the percentage of
impulse buys is substantially lower (44%) and the majority of people use a shopping list (Levy,
2012). With regard to the 70%, Van Gaalen (2012) says: “We would love this to be true, but it does
seem a bit high, doesn't it?" (p. 131). In his study involving more than 10,000 shoppers he found
that only 20% of people made 'unplanned purchases': "the majority of shoppers do plan what
products they will buy in advance, as well as which brand they will buy. (…) The effect of in-store
impulses is lower than many people like to believe." (p. 132). An even more important argument
that makes a plea for the physical stores is to refer to the conversion ratio of shops: "Conversion
rates in the physical stores are way better than in the online world. (…) The conversion rate from
going to a site to buying something is only 0.5 to three per cent. In the real world it's 20 per cent
in fashion, 50 per cent in electronics and 96 per cent in grocery stores" (Williams, 2014, p. 116).
POPUP STORES
All over the world, stores pop up that are aimed at short-term sales. That is, creating a tem-
porary venue where customers can buy, for instance, niche products. According to Wikipedia,
Vacant (LA) was the first company that began to experiment with the concept. The store
‘pops up’ within only a couple of days, for it to quickly melt away (within a couple of days or
weeks). As such, these temporary sales venues are very suitable for seasonal specials. In a
time where some brick-built stores can no longer pay their rent, partly due to growing online
sales, cities are having to deal with increasing numbers of empty outlets. Empty stores and
offices don’t make anybody happy. They are even a little bit depressing. So why not transform
them into a temporary store? This is a great opportunity for brands that do not want to spend
great amounts of money on a monthly basis, but do want to sell seasonal products, or just
get temporary attention. In the Netherlands, specific websites or apps help those interested
in setting up a temporary store. These websites show where vacant and available stores
are located. An example is Popupsquare. Popupsquare is a platform for pop-up stores.
Pop-up queen Caroline de Jager initiated the concept, because she believes that nobody
benefits from vacancy. Not the consumer, not the owner of the property and not the retailer.
Popupsquare brings people together who are looking for an empty store with people who
are offering an empty store. Becoming a member of popupsquare.nl makes it possible to
see other peoples’ posts. Then you fill in your own profile and let others know what you are
looking for or what you have to offer. If you’re really serious, you also write down your plan
for the store.
The positioning of the physical stores as a channel must take into account the strengths and
weaknesses of the channel compared to a different channel, such as webshops, for example
(see also Van Vliet, 2008). Table 3 contains a list of the features of these two channels. These
features relate to the selling of physical products. For digital products, such as music down-
loads and streaming (iTunes, Spotify) and the purchase of tickets (travel, concerts) it seems that
the argument is already won because this is where the disappearance of physical stores is
happening the most.
Physical stores Webshops
- Limited opening times + Open 24/7
- Accessibility + Always accessible online
- High overheads + Low overheads for webshop
- Limited product range + Unlimited product range
- Local reach + Worldwide reach
± Limited knowledge gathering about customers
(customer cards)
+ Extensive knowledge gathering about customers
+ Personal contact/advice from staff - Anonymous
+ See, feel and try a product - Products are not tangible
+ Take away immediately ± Delivery can take a relatively long time
± Store appearance ± Webshop appearance
+ Location (local embedding) - Ability to find webshops
Table 3: Features of the physical store versus the webshop channels13
What is interesting are the crossovers that are created for parrying the strengths of the other
channel.14 The concept of the 'endless aisle' in the store is intended to counteract the normally
limited product range by also presenting the online product range to the in-store customer,
but with the added benefit, for example, of advice from the store staff. Another crossover is to
remove the queues at the tills in the physical store by having a lot of staff in the store so that the
customer can pay immediately (Apple Store in Amsterdam), or the endless searching in a super-
market for a product whilst it can be found immediately online: "To illustrate the future role of the
52
55
portability of mobile devices, consider a customer with a RFID-enabled mobile device that also
contains a personal shopping list. When he walks into a grocery store, the store's RFID reader
can identify him and match his preferred brands to the listed items. The mobile device can dis-
play an in-store aisle-by-aisle route using the GPS, update the invoice in real-time as items are
added in the shopping cart, and make an electronic payment as he walks out the store without
having to wait in line to pay." (Shankar et al., 2010, p. 119).
DIGITAL STOREFRONTS
Have you ever visited a shopping mall after closing time? Or walked through a street with
empty stores? This is often very depressing. It is abandoned, because there is simply nothing
to do. Digital storefronts can contribute to lively surroundings, even when stores are closed
or empty. Digital storefronts are touchscreen store windows made from connected glass.
These windows provide customers with a virtual shop in a real mall or shopping street. It is
interactive and never closed. It is online shopping, with an offline experience. How does it
work? Customers see these digital store windows and can swipe through a virtual collection.
Whether it’s after closing time or not and whether the store behind the window is empty or
very crowded, this digital storefront is always open. If customers see something that they like,
they can hit the ‘order’ button and a link will be sent to their mobile phone. That way, peo-
ple can pay in private with Paypal, for example. To use the words of Steve Yankovich, eBay
vice president of innovation and also the man that partnered with the retail experience firm
Westfield Labs to launch a series of digital storefronts at the Westfield San Francisco Center:
“It brings the best of online and new technologies to the physical world”.
The majority of survival scenarios for the physical store focus on the strengths of the store and
the weaknesses of the webshop: personal contact/advice from the staff, the ability to feel and
see products and the appearance of the store/local environment: "Online shopping lacks the
aesthetic value compared to traditional shopping - colours, fabric and sizes - as well as the
fun and social component" (PwC, 2013); "The ambiance in a shop is becoming an increasingly
important sales aspect " (Hofste & Teeuw, 2012, p. 22); and "Shops have to create added value
through advice, the presence of physical products or through offline experiences." (Molenaar,
2011, p. 112). This is also what consumers themselves say are the most important reasons for
continuing to go to the shops: seeing and trying the products, personal in-store advice from the
staff, immediate availability of the product as well as special in-store offers (DigitasLBi, 2014). For
consumers, the most important reasons for not ordering online are: want to see/feel products
before buying (37%), delivery costs too high (36%), concern about quality of products (26%) and
the ease of sending returns (20%) (Schut et al. (2014). Capitalising on the physical location / envi-
ronment of the store results in all kinds of scenarios for achieving the best possible response to
the unique location and the consumer who is present there, such as in inner cities and at train
stations, workplaces and events (see INretail, 2014).
A recurring word is ‘experience’: shopping must be an indelible experience and must mainly
be enjoyable (Molenaar, 2011; Rijlaarsdam, 2013; Van Heusden, 2013; Shopping2020, 2014b).
Occasionally, it seems that naivety strikes and it is merely a question of a coffee corner and a
smile from the staff: "Think, for example, of a social corner with newspapers, magazines and
coffee, a smile from friendly staff, videos and music in the store, nice posters and terminals
where purchases can be made. It’s not so difficult" (Molenaar, 2011, p. 21). The fact that it is
somewhat more complicated than this is evident from, for example, the experience of the J.C.
Penney clothing store. This department store brought in Apple’s top manager Ron Johnson in
order to address falling visitor numbers and sales. The restyling resulted in an interior like an
Apple retail store: austere white cabinets, bright light, natural varnished wooden floor, lots of
space and no special offers. The customers fled en masse to competitor Target (from where
Johnson was once headhunted by Apple!) on the other side of the shopping centre. Exit Apple
big shot (Van Heusden, 2013).
INTEGRATED FRAMEWORK: SERVICESCAPES
In the above description of the (future) retail landscape we have seen a lot of sub-problems and
partial solutions and a number of mantras such as ‘experience’. In order to view the develop-
ments, problems and opportunities in a more structured manner we need an integrated frame-
work – one that distinguishes the relevant components, establishes relationships between them
and generates with hypotheses that can be tested. This integrated framework will have to relate
to the 'service encounter', the contact moment between customer and service. The way in which
the customer ‘enters’ the moment is important (expectations, mood, state of mind, etc.), as well
as how the service is orchestrated by the provider. From the point of view of cross-media, it is
interesting to see what role the physical environment or store plays in relation to the strong
forces of digitalisation and new media. The theoretical framework that we shall use for this is
the conceptualisation of 'servicescapes'.
Bitner (1992) introduced the term servicescape.15 In her study, Bitner shed light, from a mar-
keting perspective, on the influence of the physical environment on consumers and staff. To
indicate this, Bitner used the term servicescape: “All of the objective physical factors that can be
controlled by the firm to enhance (or constrain) employee and customer actions.” (1992, p. 65).
The most succinct expression of the role of the servicescape is in service environments such as
hotels, restaurants, banks, stores and hospitals. These are typical service organisations where
consumers and staff have direct contact in complex and decorated environments. The services
are produced and consumed simultaneously and the consumers are, as it were, 'in the factory':
a dental treatment, a visit to the hairdresser, eating out and going to a concert are examples of
this. This is in contrast to services such as a self-service laundrette or filling station where, in fact,
it is only the consumer that acts, and where services can be delivered reasonably ‘lean’ like the
products sold on the market or a motoring breakdown service.
54
In order to view the developments, problems and opportunities in a more structured
manner we need an integrated framework
57
Servicescapes are about a space manipulated by people. That manipulation can take on many
forms, for example, light, temperature, furniture, music, colour, room layout, symbols, artefacts,
etcetera. According to Bitner, all of these different types of manipulation can ultimately be allo-
cated to three dimensions:16
1. Ambient conditions. These are features of the space such as temperature, light, sound,
music, smell and other aspects that have an immediate effect on our senses. Many stud-
ies into workplaces show that these factors have an influence on staff performance and
satisfaction. Consumers are also influenced by these factors: the tempo of music in su-
permarkets influences the tempo of shopping, the length of stay in the supermarket and
the amount spent; in restaurants customers stay longer and they drink more when the
tempo of the music is slower. Familiarity with the music also has an influence: if custom-
ers do not know the music in a store they think they have been shopping longer than
is actually the case. The same applies to a pleasant smell: consumers think they have
not been in the store for as long as they actually have been and they also give a more
positive evaluation of the store. Modalities also reinforce each other: a combination of a
Christmas smell and Christmas music has a stronger effect than if they are experienced
individually. This cross-modality is, however, complex: music that is or is not congruent
with the product influences, product recognition and the likelihood of a sale (also see
Peck & Childers, 2008).
2. Spatial layout and functionality. This is about the spatial arrangement of fittings (furniture,
plants, etc.) and their mutual positioning. It is also about the support that the spatial layout
gives to achieving specific aims. An example of this is whether the checkouts in a store
are clearly visible and easily accessible for the customers so that they can pay quickly. The
addition of plants and flowers in public spaces and benches for sitting on sometimes has
substantial consequences for behaviour in that space. However, not much research has
been conducted into the question of how consumers experience these types of manipu-
lation. One example is a study on the behaviour of business people that travel regularly
and often stay in hotels. They seem to make hotel rooms look more like home by moving
the furniture until the arrangement is ‘like home’. Another trick they use to feel more at
home is personalising the room by removing all objects and signs that refer to a hotel
and replacing them with their own objects (Bardhi & Askegaard, 2011). It is a known fact
that people in spaces where they have to follow a route, walk faster through the second
section. This applies to museums (Van Vliet, 2009) and to stores as well: "In general, as
shoppers get nearer and nearer the checkout they shop faster and faster - using most of
their 'leisure time' at the beginning of the trip. The phenomenon is so pronounced and
regular that we refer to it as 'the checkout magnet'." (Sorensen, 2012, p. 57/58).
3. Signs, symbols & artefacts. There are all kinds of explicit signs present in rooms, from
labels (name of a company, advertising) and directional signs (‘exit’) to signs that com-
municate codes of conduct (‘no smoking’). However, there are also all kinds of implicit
signs, symbols and artefacts that say something about the space: white table cloths and
dimmed lights in a restaurant represent good service and high prices; the size of the desk
and the certificates on the wall influence the image that people have of the manager or
therapist. This is a complex totality that cannot always be kept ‘under control’ or interpret-
ed as was originally intended.
These three dimensions are intended to describe the influences of the servicescape clearly, but
they will not be experienced as separate dimensions by the consumer. The consumer will form
a holistic image on the basis of all of the servicescape stimuli. Bitner calls this general impres-
sion the perceived servicescape. This perceived servicescape seems to affect how people ex-
perience the quality of the goods on sale and the service (Baker, Grewal & Parasuraman, 1994).
The perceived appearance of a store ('atmospherics') appears to influence the consumer’s (buy-
ing) pattern and shopping experience (Turley & Milliman, 2000).
Customers will react to the environment in a specific manner. Bitner also divides these reactions
into three dimensions: cognitive, emotional and physiological dimensions. The influence of the
physical environment on the cognition, emotion and physiology can differ in strength and in
‘direction’ (positive or negative), where that influence is partly determined by the personal and sit-
uational factors. Personality characteristics, such as ‘arousal-seeking’ indicate that some people
specifically choose certain environments (bungee jumping, wild-water canoeing) and that they
also experience these differently from what are known as arousal-avoiders (‘at home in front of
the TV’). A person’s mood is also important: being tired after a frustrating day’s work instead of
just returning from a relaxing weekend has an effect on how one experiences a busy restaurant.
Bitner ultimately says that consumers can react to a space in two opposing ways: approach and
avoidance. Approach is about wanting to stay in the space, investigate it and spend money in
it and wanting to return to it. Avoidance is the opposite of that: want to go away, not wanting to
return, having no interest in it, et cetera. Ezeh & Harris (2007) also incorporate this aspect in their
definition of servicescape: “The design of the physical environment (with or without customer
input) housing the service encounter, which elicits internal reactions from customers leading to
the display of approach or avoidance behaviours.” (p. 61).
Environment Perception Internal responses Behavior
Ambient
condition
Space /
function
Signs,
Symbols &
Artifacts
Perceived
Servicescape
Cognitive
Emotional
Physiological
Approach /
Avoidance
Social
interaction
Moderators
56
Figure 4: Bitner's model of Servicescapes17
59
Incidentally, the servicescape does not just influence individual behaviour, but also the nature,
quality and the development of social interactions that take place within the space. The layout
of the physical space has a demonstrable effect on communication patterns, group formation
and group dynamics. Particular environments invoke predictable social behaviour and activate
conventions about how to interpret the situation (Goffman, 1974). A theatre, a train compartment
and a waiting room at the dentist all have their conventions and behaviours that are influenced
by the specific physical layout of these rooms.
Bitner’s model of servicescapes (Figure 4) is generally considered to be relevant (Eroglu &
Machleit, 2008), but, strangely enough, the empirical research into the role of servicescapes
is relatively limited (Turley & Milliman, 2000; Ezeh & Harris, 2007). Furthermore, the empirical
research that has been conducted is often just about the influence of a single element, for
example, smell or colour “…to the extent that little is known about the global configurations of
aspects of the servicescape” (Ezeh & Harris, 2007, p. 79). Or it only focuses on part of the model,
such as demonstrating that the emotional state of shoppers is a predictor of buying patterns
(Donovan et al., 1994) or the discovery of irritating aspects in the shop environment (D'Astous,
2000). The research that has been conducted is still focused on causal micro-relationships and
not on the ‘Gestalt’ or the visitors ‘holistic’ experience. In brief, the ‘global configuration’ (Eroglu
& Machleit, 2008).
Conceptually, there are also remarks that can be made about the Bitner model, for example,
with regard to the social factors. Bitner explicitly omits these as part of the servicescape and only
refers to them as a resultant within her framework. Other researchers do postulate the social
factors as a significant influencing dimension of the servicescape because social interaction
constitutes part of the space. In addition, there are also new research areas that have presented
themselves and which Bitner could not have foreseen, namely those of the online servicescapes,
which are also known as e-scapes.18 The assumption is that a different configuration is applica-
ble here: "Customers do not move around virtual environments the same way in which they do
around physical environments" (Shankar et al., 2010, p. 113),19 as well as a different experience
(Novak, Hoffman & Yung, 2000). Not only do we have to regard these e-scapes as a separate
phenomenon but we also have to place them specifically in the relationship of the physical
space: the digital environment ‘in’ or ‘on top of’ the physical space. This has not been sufficiently
researched in the context of experiencescapes so far.
Finally, the servicescape model is not elaborated further for specific ‘subtypes’ of scapes.20 Re-
search into servicescapes often includes analyses of cases, such as a specific shop or shop-
ping centre (Sherry, 1996). In the book Festivalbeleving (Van Vliet, 2012) there is a proposal to
characterise a specific sub-class of servicescapes as experiencescapes. Experiencescapes are
servicescapes that are configured for the visitor experience. The layout of stores, museums,
sports stadia, restaurants, shopping centres, city parks and tourist attractions no longer focus-
es exclusively on the most efficient and effective service delivery but increasingly emphasises
creating the experience. We no longer drink beer in a pub but rather in an Irish pub or the Hard
Rock café, we don’t eat in a normal restaurant but rather in the jungle of the Rainforest Café and
we shop in the Wild West themed shopping centres that promise a rich shopping experience.
Entire districts (China Town, Old Pasadena), cities (Las Vegas), regions (Merrie England) and even
islands (Hawaii) consist of ‘cardboard’ nostalgia where we can re-experience the real, authentic
China, England or whatever. These nostalgiascapes or retroscapes (Brown & Sherry, 2003) are
only one interpretation of what we can more broadly designate as experiencescapes. Experi-
encescapes are specific spaces that are selected, designed and managed in order to create,
support and correctly guide experiences. These experiencescapes are sought out by visitors
with the specific expectation of an experience (O’Dell, 2005).
Within experiencescapes we can make further subdivisions into, for example, festivalscapes
(Van Vliet, 2012), retailscapes and museumscapes (see Figure 5). Recurring research questions
for this will be: What is the 'global configuration' of an experiencescape? What relationship is
there between this configuration and the consumer/visitor experience? What is the role of digital
media in the experiencescape and when, how and to what extent does it influence the config-
uration of those experiencescapes and the experience? What are the differences between the
sub-categories of experiencescapes (festivals, museums, stores) and what relationship do they
have with the experience? What is the role of social factors in the experience of experiences-
SERVICESCAPE
EXPERIENCESCAPE
FESTIVAL
SCAPE
RETAIL
SCAPE
MUSEUM
SCAPE
58
Experiencescapes are specific spaces that are selected, designed and managed in order
to create, support and correctly guide experiences
Figure 5: Types of ‘scapes’
61
capes? How can the analysis of experiencescapes contribute to a more refined value proposi-
tion for new services and products when developing business models?
INSIGHTS AND CHALLENGES AMSTERDAM FASHION RETAILERS:
EXPERIENCES
A fourth insight revealed in the interviews with Amsterdam fashion retailers is the recurring topic
of experience. With regard to the role of the physical stores, the interviewed fashion retailers
are very clear: “You still need physical stores, because customers want to feel the product or get
advice from the staff” (Anonymous retailer M, 2014). But they do stress the necessity of service,
just giving that extra special feeling when in the store. A couple of retailers specifically mention
the strength of a combination of both digital and physical in this respect: “I think that people
really want to try on the clothes first, which they will do in store. Then they walk out the store,
take a couple of days to think it through, and then order it online. You have to offer that service”
(Anonymous retailer I, 2014).
Service and experience are aspects that are important according to all retailers. “The option to
order for free, give them coffee, tea or even Prosecco when they are inside the store, or being
able to quickly alternate clothing in our own sewing atelier; it all matters” (Anonymous retailer V,
2014). And we all are too well aware of those special ‘membership’ days, where membership
card holders get access to sample sales, special events or evening sales.
But a couple of retailers really want to take it to the next level. “My dream is to open up a big
store. With a huge table, right in the middle, so that people can read the newspaper or browse
through a collection of (art)books that they can then also buy here. The store will be all about
giving the customer that extra special experience. So when customers come to the store, they
sense a great atmosphere, they can touch, feel and fit the clothing and relax at the same time”
(Anonymous retailer M, 2014). Another retailer (V) is really curious about the possibilities of the
interactive mirror. She feels that the interactive mirror provides customers with more service
when searching for the perfect outfit. She even believes that interactive mirrors can take over – to
some extent – the activities of a sales assistant. Which seems to contradict one of the strengths
of the physical store: personal advice from real people.
60
6362
CONCLUSION
An interactive full-length mirror is just one of the many innovations that are currently on offer in
the fashion retail sector that will doubtlessly force the retailer to ask himself ‘What am I to do
with it?’ Is such a technological innovation to be used as a PR stunt in order to boost the image
of being an innovative organisation; is it a means of drawing attention in an unconventional
way and thus achieving positive customer attitude (Hutter & Hoffmann, 2014); is it an alternative
to existing processes or can it be integrated into existing processes? Even aside from the costs
and revenues, this is already a stressful situation that is difficult to avoid because technological
innovations are ongoing. As a deer staring into the headlights of an approaching car, many
retailers go numb, and it is, therefore, not surprising that: “Many retailers are restrained about
introducing new technologies” (PwC, 2014). A conclusion reflected in our observations of in-
novative behaviour of fashion retail stores in Amsterdam and the interviews with Amsterdam
retailers. The interviewed retailers were often struggling with their ‘omni-channel’ strategies,
especially because retailers find it hard to predict which innovations could really benefit them.
Fashion retailers are aware of the fact that consumers do a lot online, but the knowledge of how
to respond to that was not always present. We think the quote taken from Kilcourse & Rowen
(2014) is the most to the point in this case: "There is a vast distance between retailers' under-
standing of the value of many of today's technical solutions and actual use - even though many
of those technologies have been available for quite some time" (p. ii).
If we skip the recurring discussion on what to call it (cross-media, transmedia, omni-channel,
et cetera), the underlying drive is to find a conclusive answer or final understanding about how
organisations should use media as an instrument in their communication with and service de-
velopment for their customers. Formulated in this way it reveals that, despite all new semantics,
the underlying questions have not really changed. Organisations are making (strategic) deci-
sions about how to put all kinds of media to use in order to attract, inform, persuade and lock-in
customers to whatever goal they set themselves. Due to a plethora of media occurrences, each
with their particular characteristics and usages, and the many contextual variables that are
apparent in any offer an organisation makes, there is a monumental task in figuring out what
works and what does not work at a certain time for a particular consumer. This task has been
referred to as ‘orchestration’ (Van Vliet, 2008). Different concepts can be regarded as being
different interpretations of, or, different perspectives on this orchestration. Cross-media focuses
on the interrelatedness of the various media or channels used in the orchestration; transmedia
or ‘sequential storytelling’ (Kleverlaan, 2014) focuses on the storyline being told throughout this
orchestration; multi-channeling looks at the unique channel features of each channel and their
overall contribution to the set targets.
This orchestration is in the hands of the organisation. From the specific goals organisations set
themselves, they orchestrate media (channels) in order to reach those goals, be they economi-
cal gain, cultural enlightenment or societal well-being. Orchestration is an intentional act, mean-
ing it is directed at someone. That someone is persuaded, consciously or unconsciously, by the
offering or seeks out the offering actively based on their own agenda, or should we say their
own orchestration of needs, wants, intentions and habitual behaviour. The point to make is that
there are two sides to the service encounter: the orchestration of an offering by the organisation
and the experience of that offering by the customer. Sometimes it seems that these two sides
are not taken fully into account, especially their differences that are grounded in respectively
organisational capabilities and psychological constellations. Based on these two sides of the
service encounter, one can argue that the omni-channel concept represents the viewpoint of
the customer’s experience far more, and the concept of multi-channel is a point of view far more
related to the organisation. Ignoring this two-sidedness, one can easily dismiss multi-channel
as ancient history when taking a consumer-centred approach (Dorf, 2010; 2011; Ter Haar, 2014).
Of course the two sides must meet - the so-called service encounter, or to use a more popular
contemporary term ‘touchpoint’ -, which in some ways is the moment of truth regarding the
continuation of the organisation and customer loyalty.
Applied research can help organisations to formulate a consistent and robust orchestration and
find ways of translating this into a specific service offering to customers. Such a focus obliges
us to investigate concepts like media, cross-media context, experiences and services: an ex-
tensive research agenda by any measure. The servicescape concept has been introduced for
this which, with a number of adaptations and expansions, forms a promising framework for
analysing service encounters and helping retailers to find answers to pressing questions on
renewal of their business.
64 65
66 67
13. The list is loosely based on Molenaar (2011), because he sometimes contradicts himself (for
example on the product range, comparison possibilities) and also uses very subjective crite-
ria (according to Molenaar you can’t shop online for fun, it’s “niet leuk” [no fun]).
14. See the following Google videos about the differences between online and offline and our
expectations about them: www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbtf1oyNg-8; www.youtube.com/
watch?v=3Sk7cOqB9Dk; www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5WurXNec7E.
15. This section is based on the paragraph about servicescapes in the book Festivalbeleving
Festival Experience (Van Vliet, 2012).
16. Alternative classifications are available (see, amongst other things, Baker, Grewal & Parasur-
aman, 1994; Turley & Milliman, 2000; D’Astous, 2000). However, the differences are margin-
al. It is interesting to perform a meta-analysis on this and to relate the aspects found to, for
example, analyses of social situations, like in the study by Goffman (1974).
17. This is a simplied version of the original model, taken from Van Vliet (2012).
18. See Venkatesh (1996) for an initial reflection.
19. But compare: “Online shoppers are affected by the methods of shopper marketing in a very
similar way to the traditional shopper, even if the context is not the store and the shelf, but
the browser and the computer screen.” (Kotler in: Stahlberg & Maila, 2012, p. ix).
20.An exception is the study of Appadurai (1990) who employed a typology of scapes for the
global cultural economy for which he identified five scapes, which he called financescapes,
mediascapes, technoscapes, ethnoscapes, and ideoscapes.
END NOTES
1. The following categories have been included in the consumer spending for this: Food/Near-
food/Health, Home & Garden, Fashion: Clothing, Consumer Electronics, Insurance, Package
Holidays, Fashion: Shoes & Personal Lifestyle, Individual flight tickets and accommodation,
Telecom, Media & Entertainment, Toys (excluding games), Event Tickets, Books, Sport (hard-
ware) (Wolters, 2013).
2. Online is defined here by GfK as buying via a Smartphone, tablet, desktop, laptop, in-store
devices, watch/glasses (Wolters, 2013). What is, of course, striking here is that the ‘in-store’
devices have been included as online. What is necessary is a distinction between where
(physical store, at home, en route) and with what (devices) the purchase is made so that the
figures can be interpreted properly.
3. An explanation for this difference is not given. Referring to the wisdom of the crowds ap-
proach in the case of experts (Wolters, 2013) is in any event not a valid argument in as much
as a number of essential conditions for the effect of this approach are not met (see Van Vliet
et al., 2013).
4. The differences in figures can be explained by the difference between orientation and buy-
ing. Consumers can go to the store for orientation but in the end they buy the product online.
This is why the figures between online buying and visiting a physical store are not mirrored.
5. Exceptions to this are the Kega publications (2013, 2014). However, the presentation of the
innovations is reasonably random and in any event has no explicit underlying system.
6. A similar observation can be made regarding the digital innovation ambition of museums
(Van Vliet, 2013).
7. The elements stated by Erdman show similarities with elements identified by Van Vliet (2012)
as the elements with which a festival organization can manage the festival experience (so-
called FestivalDNA).
8. Which, of course, says nothing about a causal relationship, only that there is a relationship
between Smartphone use and spending.
9. See http://mumbrella.com.au/special-k-launches-experiential-social-campaign-in-
westfield-172747.
10. We have omitted the crowdsourcing phenomenon here for which, as a matter of fact, there
is also an exchange involved: time and knowhow are ‘exchanged’ for a better reputation,
attention, a good feeling, etcetera. See further: Van Vliet et al., 2013.
11. See www.pinterest.com/fashionreatilfu/ for a visual report of this process by students in
relation to their purchasing process. We do not discuss Molenaar’s ORCA model (2011) here
because it does not add a lot and is also a model that is not without its problems, both in
the linear character and in the actual modelling (semantics of arrows, process steps and
outcomes are swapped, et cetera).
12. The aspect of cannibalization now appears to have less of an effect: “Although multi-channel
retailing is often associated with cannibalization of revenue between channels, we find that
today’s multi-channel retailers appear to suffer less from its effects.” (Van Ameijden et al.,
2012, p. 11). However, 18% of the retailers questioned said that this had an impact to a large
degree.
69
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An interactive full-length mirror that allows your customers to browse through an endless col-
lection of clothing that you offer and see immediately whether something fits them, including
when they turn around, and which also allows them to send a picture quickly to their family
and friends to hear what they think. This mirror is a technological development that is already
possible and which is being introduced in fashion stores here and there.
But how probable is it that this technological innovation will become a permanent feature of our
shopping experience? How probable is it that you as a retailer will invest in such a mirror? And
does such an innovation will save the physical store from becoming obsolete while more and
more consumers are buying online? And who is that consumer anyway and what does he or
she need?
In The Fashion Retailscape developments in (fashion) retail are critically analysed and enriched
with insights from retailers in Amsterdam.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Harry van Vliet is head of the Cross-media research group at the Amsterdam University of Ap-
plied Sciences. This research group examines the impact of new (technological) developments
on business innovation and consumer experiences. As a trained psychologist he holds a PhD in
the humanities from the Utrecht University. He publishes regularly on topics such as consumer
experience, media strategy, crowdsourcing, cross-media and business model theory.
Anne Moes, researcher at the Cross-media research group, is primarily engaged in research
on innovations in fashion retail environments and its impact on the shopping experience for cus-
tomers. She also teaches at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute in ‘Fashion in Retail & Marketing’.
Anne graduated in persuasive communication (University of Amsterdam) and wrote her master
thesis on the effect of different emotions in charity advertisements.
Bernadette Schrandt works as a researcher at the Cross-media research group and has a
degree in Media and Performance studies (Utrecht University). She is specifically interested in
embodied experiences: how consumers behave in mediated environments and how their inter-
action with these media creates meaningful experiences to them. Her research mainly focuses
on cultural experiences.
Amsterdam Creative Industries Publishing, 2015.
ISBN 978-94-92171-02-3
... Pure players make this choice for the same reasons that traditional retailers begin an online channel: to meet the needs and wishes of the client. The advantages of webshops (such as extended opening hours, accessibility, worldwide reach) are different than the advantages of physical shops (personal contact, option to take products home immediately, trying out products) (Van Vliet et al., 2015). Consumers want to choose from a broad selection and shop whenever it suits them. ...
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Consumer behaviour in 2016 shows that (r)etailers need online/offline integration to better serve their clients. An important distinguishing feature of the physical shop is how it can offer consumers a shopping experience. This study uses two experiments to research the extent a fashion store’s shopping experience can be presented to consumers via visual material (a regular photo, a 360-degree photo and a virtual reality photo of the shop) without the consumers being in the shop itself. The effects of these visual materials will also be measured in (among others) terms of purchase intention, visiting intention to the physical shop and online visit satisfaction. A theoretical framework is used to substantiate how the three types of pictures can be classified in terms of medium richness. The completed experiments show, among other outcomes, that consumers who saw the virtual reality photo of the shop have a more positive shopping experience, a higher purchase intention, a higher intention to visit the physical shop and more online visit satisfaction than people who have only seen the regular photo or the 360-degree photo of the shop. Enjoyment and novelty seem to partly explain these found effects.
... In fact, festival visitors consider the atmosphere as the most important factor in how they experience a festival ( Van Vliet 2012). Atmosphere is also what distinguishes physical shops from online web shops ( Van Vliet, Moes & Schrandt 2015). Much research underlines the influence of atmosphere on cognitive and emotional processes. ...
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Researchers have been studying the influence of atmosphere for decades, particularly through the lens of environmental psychology, which focuses on the interplay between humans and their environment. A milestone in atmosphere research was the introduction of the concept of ‘atmospherics’ by Kotler (1973). From here, research into atmosphere mainly took place in the context of marketing research into consumer behaviour in shopes and service environments such as restaurants, hotels, museums and festivals. The question here is whether these gathered insights contribute to understanding how atmosphere works in open public spaces.
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Purpose The best possible way for brick-and-mortar retailers to maximise engagement with personalised shoppers is capitalising on intelligent insights. The retailer operates differently with diversified items and services, but influencing retail atmospheric on personalised shoppers, the perception remains the same across industries. Retail atmospherics stimuli such as design, smell and others create behavioural modifications. The purpose of this study is to explore the atmospheric effects on brick-and-mortar store performance and personalised shopper's behaviour using cognitive computing based in-store analytics in the context of emerging market. Design/methodology/approach The data are collected from 35 shoppers of a brick-and-mortar retailer through questionnaire survey and analysed using quantitative method. Findings The result of the analysis reveals month-on-month growth in footfall count (46%), conversation rate (21%), units per transaction (27%), average order value (23%), dwell time (11%), purchase intention (29%), emotional experience (40%) and a month-on-month decline in remorse (20%). The retailers need to focus on three control gates of shopper behaviour: entry, browsing and exit. Attention should be paid to the cognitive computing solution to judge the influence of retail atmospherics on store performance and behaviour of personalised shoppers. Retail atmospherics create the right experience for individual shoppers and forceful use of it has an adverse impact. Originality/value The paper focuses on strategic decisions of retailers, the tactical value of personalised shoppers and empirically identifies the retail atmospherics effect on brick-and-mortar store performance and personalised shopper behaviour.
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Contemporary research topics in arts education. German-dutch perspectives
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In dit boek worden de inzichten en resultaten van twee onderzoeksprojecten gepresenteerd, te weten Designing Experiencescapes (2014-2016) en De Tentoonstellingsmaker van de 21ste Eeuw (2017-2019). Het is onmiskenbaar dat beleving een onderdeel is geworden van museale opstellingen anno 2019. Tegelijkertijd is er, als het gaat om beleving, weinig onderbouwing van wat werkt en waarom. In de jaren sinds het verschijnen van de Nationale Kennisagenda voor het Museale Veld (2014), met daarin een prominente rol voor de belevingswaarde van museale opstellingen, hebben we samen met professionals in het werkveld antwoord gezocht op de vraag hoe men kan sturen op beleving in tentoonstellingen. Gesprekken met professionals en bezoekers, data over hoe professionals hun eigen museum zien en hoe bezoekers het museum ervaren, observaties van hoe bezoekers zich feitelijke gedragen en vele ontwerpsessies later kunnen we de balans opmaken over wat dit heeft opgeleverd.
Research Proposal
In 'De tentoonstellingsmaker van de 21ste eeuw' richten we ons op een aspect dat de laatste jaren steeds dominanter is geworden in het werk van tentoonstellingsmakers in musea: het bieden van een bezoekersbeleving oftewel het inspireren en raken van bezoekers. Dit als aanvulling op de taakstelling van musea om een inhoudelijke boodschap over te brengen (informeel leren). Tentoonstellingsmakers geven aan meer gevalideerde kennis nodig te hebben om goede afwegingen te kunnen maken in het creëren van de bezoekersbeleving en om de feitelijke bezoekersbeleving te kunnen evalueren. Vragen die ook bij betrokken bureaus voor ontwerp en realisatie leven, omdat reflectie op ontwerpkeuzes en hoe deze uitpakken er vaak bij inschiet tijdens de realisatie van museale projecten. Uit gesprekken met al deze partijen is een overkoepelende vraag geformuleerd: Hoe kan ik als tentoonstellingsmaker meer onderbouwde afwegingen maken in het bieden van een bezoekersbeleving zodat bezoekers meer leren over de inhoud van de tentoonstelling én geïnspireerd en geraakt worden? De vraag is natuurlijk hoe een beoogde bezoekersbeleving te realiseren is in een tentoonstelling. In De tentoonstellingsmaker van de 21ste eeuw bouwen we voort op drie eerdere projecten die we met musea en tentoonstellingsmakers hebben gedaan: het RAAK-project Museumkompas, het project Designing ExperienceScapes en een studie naar de regeling Digitale Innovatie in Musea. Met de opgedane inzichten en ervaring in die projecten worden experimenten gedaan bij vier deelnemende musea naar aspecten die tentoonstellingsmakers, vanuit zowel musea als ontwerp- en designbureaus, aangeven als belangrijke sturingsmogelijkheden van de bezoekersbeleving: publieksparticipatie, verhalen vertellen, inzet van digitale media, en sfeer. Een kring van andere deelnemende musea zal de opgedane kennis verder toepassen en valideren. De tentoonstellingsmaker van de 21ste eeuw levert zo reproduceerbare kennis waarmee tentoonstellingsmakers van de 21ste eeuw onderbouwde keuzes kunnen maken in het sturen op het inspireren en raken van bezoekers oftewel de bezoekersbeleving.
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Atmosphere is an important factor in how a visitor experiences a space or environment. To establish the importance of the atmosphere factor, a good measuring instrument is required. This study offers a proposal for such a measuring instrument. For this purpose, a meta-analysis was carried out on existing empirical and theoretical studies on atmosphere in marketing literature and museum studies. Stores and museums are two relevant examples of places where atmosphere plays an evident role in visitor experience and behavior.
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Wij bespreken een drietal deelstudies naar de effectiviteit van informatieve websites. Tussen de website en de winkel vonden we synergie-effecten voor wat betreft de attitudes van consumenten. Echter, positievere website-attitudes blijken samen te hangen met lagere bestedingen in de winkel. Voor de meerderheid van de klanten leidt websitebezoek tot een afname van zowel het aantal aankoopbezoeken als de bestedingen. Voor een kleine minderheid leidt websitebezoek tot een verbetering van het klantgedrag, opvallend genoeg zijn dit de ‘beste’ klanten. Tot slot blijken marketingactiviteiten via het online kanaal slechts een tijdelijke positieve invloed te hebben op het aankoopgedrag in de winkel.
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Lectorale rede Hogeschool Utrecht