Make The Shops Disappear!

Can you imagine a world without bricks-and-mortar stores? Window-shopping while staying in your warm living room. Trying on clothes without stepping outside on a rainy day.

Just as avatars might replace store clerks in the future, other technologies could make the good old bricks-and-mortar store dispensable.

In this article shoppernewsblog introduces five innovative technologies that bring traditional stores to our homes.

Window-shopping at home (

For those of our readers who still enjoy the old-fashioned window shopping, we recommend

A website where users can have a look at some 35 store windows from fashion boutiques located in New York and London. Based on crowdsourcing, the website promises to be always up-to-date. Moreover, as photos are tagged users know “how much any item costs, where it’s been made and if it’s available in different colors and sizes just by clicking on it”¹.

Brands include high-end fashion labels like Gucci and Louis Vuitton but also more accessible retailers as Zara or H&M. To the right you find Giorgio Armani’s store window. Shoppers who like a specific store window can share the link via social media. Also, users can create their very own “map” grouping their favorite brands together on one avenue. One important aspect of the site is that it allows less affluent shopper to have a look at premium brands and browse for products. It hence, eliminates a classical barrier. The site was launched in December 2011. An earlier one-week teaser version attracted some 7,000 visits².

Also visit our post “How A Messy Living Room Can Boost Your Store Visits – The Lost Art Of Window Dressing” to learn how Diesel’s Berlin store increased visits by a factor of 200.


Virtual versions of bricks-and-mortar stores (

Another interesting website that brings real-world shops to the digital world is PanoPlaza. Launched in January 2012, the Japanese start-up uses 360-degree panoramic photos to create a virtual version of a bricks-and-mortar store.

According to trendwatching, so far one department store, a bookshop, and a sweet shop are participating. Shoppers can walk through the virtual store and have a closer look at items they like. Products are tagged similar to photos on Facebook to provide visitors with more information and an instant add-to-shopping-cart option.


Magic mirrors for everyone (Bonn by Vitail)

In our previous article “Changing The Way Women Shop For Fashion” we introduced, among others, virtual mirrors. A few days later we were contacted by Australian-based Vitail who allows shoppers to have their very own magic mirror by using digital cameras on mobile phones, laptops or any other device.

Hence, the technology enables shoppers at home or at work to try on apparel without even being close to the actual store. Users can also take pictures and send them to friends asking for advice in real-time. The technology uses motion recognition similar to Microsoft Kinect but works as a simple add-on.


Test furniture before buying (Mobile Dreams Factory for IKEA)

IKEA used augmented reality to provide shoppers with the opportunity to test how a particular furniture would look like at home. The iPhone app was launched for the company’s 2010 catalogue and became an instant success. It was downloaded more than 200,000 times “and in the first week of its release became the second most downloaded application in Apple’s App Store“³.

Augmented reality seems particularly suitable for a furniture store. Moreover, it perfectly matched the lifestyle of IKEA‘s targeted demographic “mainly women ages 25-44“³.  IKEA’s app also was awarded the Golden Lion at Cannes for the best advertising campaign on mobile devices.

For fans of augmented reality ads, we also recommend our post “See, Smell, Hear, Taste, Touch – Shop Using All Your Senses!“.


Tele-commerce (connept for IKEA)

Another interesting solution from IKEA to allow shoppers a more convenient shopping experience is its new Uppleva integrated TV set which is expected to include some tele-commerce function. According to industry experts, IKEA is collaborating with German connept to develop a built-in shopping and payment solution.

The TV set is about to be launched in selected cities around Europe. According to GigaOm, shoppers will have the opportunity to directly purchase selected products from TV ads by pushing a button on the remote control. A browser window will open, the user enters a password and confirms the purchase.



Physical stores won’t disappear in the future. Actually, some of the technologies presented above might even increase store visits and sales for bricks-and-mortar stores. Nevertheless, the busy lifestyle of today’s shoppers demands retailers to come up with innovative approaches to make the shopping experience more convenient. Developing the right tools might actually help traditional stores to fend off the threat of virtual retailers.

In the end, it is the shopper who decides where to buy. Convince her to come to your store being it the traditional bricks-and-mortar store or the online retailer!


Click “5 technologies That Will Change Shopper Marketing” to access all posts from this series.

For more information on digital shopper marketing and e-commerce, please consult our introductory chapters.


What technology did you scout that will change shopper marketing forever?

Please share them with us so we can incorporate them into future posts.






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6 Responses to Make The Shops Disappear!

  1. Pingback: The Shopper Marketing Revolution – Power Is In The Hands Of The Shopper « Mike Anthony @ engage consultants

  2. Socrates says:

    Another tech-oriented example is Goodzer Pretty complete local product search solution bringing inventory of brick-and-mortar stores to users’ PC/phone.

    • Socrates,

      Thanks for sharing!

      We had a brief look at Goodzer and it looks very interesting.
      It actually helps smaller, local stores to attract more customers while making shopping in the real world easier for customers.

      Excellent app which we definitely consider for future posts!
      Looking forward to hearing more from you.

      Thanks for contributing!



  3. Mike Anthony says:

    Super collection of technologies that are/could change the way we shop.

    I’m certain that people will still want “real” shops for some time, for some purchases. The challenge for bricks and mortar retailers is, however as much economic as it is about shopping experience.
    Stores cost a lot of money, and if there aren’t enough shoppers, then a tipping point will be reached making many stores simply not viable.

    Keep up the good work!


    • Mike,

      We completely agree with your point of view!

      We expect to see more hybrid versions in the future blurring the traditional borders between bricks-and-mortar and online retailers. Examples of traditional stores expanding to the digital world are found above. But also we see pop-up stores migrating from the virtual world to the “real” world.

      Thanks for commenting!


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