NZ’s first 24/7 Storefront gives physical retailers the edge

Author -  Vaughan Reed

The Homestore has launched New Zealand’s first ever 24 / 7 Storefront window that allows full online shopping. The Newmarket based retailer has transformed its store front window into an interactive touchscreen; the first of its kind to have full e-commerce capability.



Competition within the retail sector is cut-throat, especially given the accessibility consumers now have to overseas virtual online retailers (e-tailers). This is forcing traditional retail stores to find new and innovative ways to compete on experience, not price.

With 82 % of purchase decisions still made in- store1, brick and mortar stores still have the edge over e-tailers. According to Dan Vincent owner of The Homestore, many shoppers live for the endorphin rush that only comes with making a purchase in-store. “Online is an important sales channel for us, but around 80% of our sales still come from in-store shoppers who want to touch and experience the quality of our products first hand,” says Vincent. “We also carry a sophisticated range of 8,000 products, so our customers enjoy coming into the store to ask questions and to get advice from our sales assistants.”

However today’s shoppers, particularly millennials, are plugged into technology and are constantly hunting for information from multiple sources. Therefore to remain relevant in this ‘buy anytime, anywhere’ market, physical retailers have to adapt and embrace technology. According to Vaughan Reed of Labyrinth Solutions, the company behind The Homestore’s 24/7 Storefront, adapting is not just about having a substantial online offering anymore. “It’s about bringing the digital experience into the store and using it to deliver a consistently unbeatable customer experience,” says Reed. “This convergence of the real and digital worlds is known as an ‘omni-channel retail strategy’ - and it’s what’s going to give retailers with physical stores the upper hand.”

Window displays have always been an important part of the retail environment, providing the first opportunity to show shoppers what they can find in the store. Recognising the need to provide integration between physical and digital touch points, The Homestore has transformed its store front window into an interactive touchscreen to capture the attention of passing foot traffic.

“The 24/7 Storefront is so much more than an attention grabbing digital display,” says Reed. It allows window shoppers to quickly access product information, make secure purchases, access specific information such as a wedding register and view special offers all via The Homestore’s front window.

All purchases made via the store window are secure. “The protection and security of our shoppers is an important consideration,” says Vincent, “especially when they are standing in a busy public thoroughfare.” At the point when personal details need be entered, purchases are handed over to the shopper’s mobile device. This ensures a secure check-out process and provides shoppers peace of mind when using a public touch screen to place an order.

According to Reed, the 24/7 Storefront is just one component of a full in-store experience. “It’s the component that drives foot traffic into The Homestore and also gives shoppers the flexibility to view and purchase products 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” says Reed. “An online website, while available around the clock, cannot capture business from passing foot traffic outside of normal hours.”

“Our location means we have access to some very well-heeled foot traffic during the day and after hours,” says Vincent. “With the 24/7 Storefront up and running we’re finally in a position to tap into this opportunity, which has literally been passing us by up until now.”

The 24/7 Storefront solution integrates with The Homestore’s website allowing offers, products, pricing and all content to be centrally managed to give shoppers a consistent "omni-channel” experience. “At the end of the day the 24/7 Storefront is an engaging and interactive experience for Homestore customers, which is another touch point with their brand that consumers wouldn't otherwise have had,” concludes Reed.

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