With online shopping becoming so prevalent and pervasive in recent years, it can sometimes feel like it’s the wave of the future. In just a few decades, we’ve seen retail giants like JCPenney, Payless ShoeSource, and Toys R Us all take a massive hit, mostly due to the behemoth that is online shopping.
However, while it’s easy to get wrapped up in the “doom and gloom” of retailers struggling against technology, we have to remember that in-store experiences are still available. And if brands want to keep up with modern trends, they need to embrace the technology, not fear it.
This shoe company recently opened a flagship store in London, and it could very well be the gold standard for how to blend real-world shopping with high-tech gadgetry. Right now, it’s impossible to tell the long-term effects of the store, but things look promising from the outset.
So, with that in mind, we want to take a deep dive into what adidas is doing and see if other retailers can and should be taking notes. Also, will shoppers embrace the company’s gamble, or will they still retreat to their computers for most of their purchases? Let’s find out.
Adidas LDN – Bigger = Better?
The first thing to note about this storefront is that it’s massive. Adidas has clearly invested a lot of money into it, and for now, it seems like they put that cash into smart decisions, at least on the retail side of things. The store itself is 26,900 square feet, covering four floors and a wide array of departments.
Although LDN is vast, it doesn’t feel imposing at first. There is a natural flow to the layout, which means that sections blend effortlessly into each other, creating a seamless experience. However, since it does cover so much square footage, finding a specific item can be challenging. Or, it would be, if the store didn’t employ tons of workers (most of whom speak multiple languages) and high technology.
One of the features that can help make the store feel a bit more intimate is “Bring it to Me.” By using one of the many digital touch screens around the place (or one of the devices held by a staff member), shoppers can request a particular item to be brought to them. This feature is a significant highlight if the one thing you’re looking for is on the fourth floor, and you’re still browsing on the first.
The way that “Bring it to Me” works is that it uses geofencing to determine your exact position in the store so that a team member can find the product and bring it to you. Better yet, you can look it up on your own device by signing into the Adidas app (more on that later). From there, you can find the right size, color, and design you want before sending a fetch request.
Overall, shopping at LDN should be overwhelming, but it’s very customer-friendly and casual. As we’ll also get into, coming here is more about the experience than the transaction. You go online to buy a specific item – you come to LDN to see where the store takes you. For many brands, adding value to the in-store experience is one of the best ways to compete in today’s marketplace.
Merging Digital and Real Life – 100+ Digital Touchpoints
Whenever you see a report or post about adidas LDN, everyone is sure to mention that it has over 100 digital touchpoints throughout the store. However, if you’re not familiar with that term (or why it matters), let’s break it down.
What is a Digital Touchpoint?
Whenever a customer interacts with a brand on a digital medium (i.e., a phone screen or a tablet), this is called a digital touchpoint. These elements can be used in a variety of situations, including marketing and, in LDN’s case, user interactivity.
Here are a few ways that digital touchpoints help enhance the shopping experience at the store.
High-Tech Fitting Rooms
Traditionally, if you wanted to try on multiple outfits, you had to grab each one from the shelf and take them to a fitting room. However, many retailers have limits to the number you can bring in, which means that you’ll likely have to make multiple trips.
At Adidas, however, you can sample your products digitally, using high-tech mirrors: sample different colors and sizes, all without having to leave the room. Also, you can check if the one you like is in stock and then order it directly so that it’ll be waiting for you when you leave.
Another element that makes these mirrors more interactive is that you can change the background. See how well your outfit will look in a variety of settings so that you can be sure you’ll look fabulous wherever you are.
Considering that Adidas started as a shoe company, it makes sense that a significant part of the store would be dedicated to footwear. Rather than merely trying on some sneakers, however, customers can put them to the test before leaving the store. The Running Lab has multiple treadmills so that you can see how well the shoes (and your feet) will hold up in various conditions. Not only that, but the screens will analyze your running gait and offer pointers on the right shoe for your needs.
As with the mirrors, you can choose from a variety of backdrops to help you get a sense of how you’ll be using your new sneakers. Run through the streets of London or in the backcountry, depending on how you like to exercise. Even if you don’t plan on heading to the mountains anytime soon, it’s still fun to see what it would be like.
One of the issues with online shopping is that there are only so many choices available for new products. What do you do if you want a custom logo or writing on your shirt or jacket? You’ll have to send it to a screen printer after buying it, which can be time-consuming and expensive.
At LDN, you can do that in-store. Several customization stations allow shoppers to accentuate their new purchases in a variety of ways. Stickers, graphics, and badges are all par for the course. You can then press the clothing on-site with assistance from a team member and walk out with your own clothing creation.
The Adidas App
Many retailers have proprietary apps to enhance the shopping experience, but Adidas takes it to the next level. We’ve already discussed how you can use the “Bring it to Me” feature on your phone, but here are a few other ways that the app can turn a visit to LDN into a high-tech fantasy.
- Sneaker Cleaning – no matter how careful you are, your shoes will get dirty. You can schedule a cleaning in-store through the app, making it even more convenient. You can also get directions to the cleaning station, just in case you get lost along the way.
- In-Store Events – because the flagship space is so huge, it will be hosting numerous events throughout the year, including product releases and parties. You can see the calendar in the app and RSVP as you like.
- Interactive Challenges – throughout LDN, there are a variety of augmented reality (AR) displays that can be enhanced by using the app. If you want to add a bit of fun and rewards to your shopping, these challenges can be engaging.
Other Notes About Adidas LDN
For the most part, this new store is hitting all the right notes when talking about creating a unique experience for customers. The digital touchpoints make shopping more convenient, and they are sure to catch on with tech-friendly generations.
However, there are a few other notable aspects of this storefront that are worth mentioning.
More and more brands are working towards greener energy and less of an environmental impact. Adidas is already doing its part by recycling materials for many of the brand’s shoes, but this store takes things a step further.
Much of the construction is recycled, and, according to LDN’s press release, 100% of the electricity comes from a mix of renewable sources, including solar panels on the roof.
In case you couldn’t tell, this flagship store is in London. Adidas seems to revel in that fact, utilizing London-based artists and inspiration from landmarks around the city. If you’re new to the area, be prepared to get a full dose of London fever when visiting this store.
Although Adidas is mostly focused on fitness, LDN comes with a wide array of lifestyle brands that cater to people of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities. As we mentioned, the staff members here speak over 30 languages combined, meaning that everyone is welcome here. Also, many of the mannequins are plus-sized, which can help those carrying a few extra pounds feel represented.
Bottom Line: LDN Sets the Bar High
Again, we’ll have to see if these innovations are going to propel Adidas to the front of the pack, but so far, it seems highly promising. You can expect other brands to take notice and copy the best elements of LDN for their own purposes. Overall, Adidas makes shopping fun again.