27 September 2016
Alexander Black is the new landmark concept store from BT that fuses in-store shopping with a personalised online experience.
Though around 90 per cent of retail sales still go through physical stores, today’s digital consumers increasingly expect the ease and readily available information of online and mobile buying while shopping in-person.
BT says the new Alexander Black store shows its retail customers how to meet this challenge and in the process grow operational efficiency, reduce costs, increase sales and boost customer loyalty.
“What to do is not the question,” says Hubertus von Roenne, vice president, global industry practices, at BT’s Global Services division.
“How to do it consistently, securely and at scale — which demands fully integrated solutions — is the tricky bit. That’s where BT can help.”
Housed in BT’s research and development facility at Adastral Park in Ipswich, the stimulated store showcases the possibility of bringing the digital world to high street shops.
Retailers are given a real-time vision showing how creative use of technology can radically transform in-store browsing and purchasing as we know it.
Rob Mayhew, from BT’s Applied Innovation & Hothouse Centre (AIHC) said: “We are delighted to host the Alexander Black retail showcase at Adastral Park. The team from BT’s Technology Service & Operations were instrumental in developing the showcase with BT Global Services. It builds on the other showcases we have here at the customer centre.
He added: “The Research & Innovation team put in place and helped fund the technology for the showcase. It’s a great example of BT’s line of businesses working together. We are looking forward to hosting major customers to the showcase and building on the fantastic reputation we have at Adastral Park.”
Departments in the Alexander Black store include fashion, homeware and grocery plus there’s a sit down coffee shop. More than 40 innovative solutions are on show that retailers can introduce to give customers a more immersive and engaging store environment.
“Alexander Black looks and feels like a real store and even includes a café to complete the shopping experience,” says Hubertus.
“It allows our retailer customers to get their hands on digital touch points such as a shop window display to show how they could interact with shoppers out of hours, a memory mirror with a 360-degree view for trying on new outfits, intelligent merchandise labels and a mobile app for the café.” “It integrates these solutions to blur the lines between shopping online and in-store, creating the seamless brand experience that digital consumers expect.”
Personalisation is now critical, says BT. Digital consumers expect retailers to recognise them and offer tailored content and relevant special offers.
Accordingly, BT is working with specialist solutions partners, including the Acuitas Digital Alliance, to integrate their technologies behind the scenes at the Alexander Black concept shop.
This will allow retailers to mobilise their sales teams, check up to date stock levels and bring together numerous data sources that they can analyse for new business insights.
The newest concept store at Ipswich is the first for the UK following initial Alexander Black openings at BT’s customer innovation showcases in Milan and New York. There’s also a pop-up store at the Madrid showcase.