Interactive Elements in a Digital Age
In the fast-paced world of retail, more and more companies are turning to digital solutions within stores to stay ahead of the game, draw in customers and provide a memorable shopping experience they are sure to repeat. From digital signage to fully immersive shopping experiences, the evolution of traditional brick-and-mortar stores into interactive, customer-led experiences is unlocking new avenues for businesses to reach their customers in ways that have never been seen before.
In this blog post, we will explore further some of the cutting-edge technologies and strategies some stores have begun to use in recent months to transform the retail landscape and stand out from the crowd.
Starting with one of our staple, essential stores and daily experiences – the traditional supermarket.
Sainsbury’s Live digital network currently reaches millions of shoppers each week (over 15 million per fortnight) through a national network of more than 320 full-motion digital screens placed at store entrances.
Nectar360 have recently announced plans to expand this network to over 800 screens in conjunction with Clear Channel UK. This will secure Sainsbury’s Live's status as the UK’s largest connected digital supermarket screen network! The introduction of the internal screen network has given Sainsbury’s and brands available in store the ability to tailor their advertising campaigns according to weather, events, competitions and various other factors at the click of a button.
The ease and changeability of the screens, plus the wow factor of a digital element within the store, has enhanced brand awareness directly with Sainsbury’s customers, strengthening their relationship with brands sold within store, and created a memorable customer journey for those visiting the store on their essential shopping trips.
Ulta Beauty 
Ulta Beauty, the largest beauty retailer in the US, have announced an exclusive partnership with SOS – the female founded company offering a fast-growing network of smart vending machines promoting wellness on the go.
The pilot scheme launching in select locations across 10 cities in the US will progress on Ulta Beauty’s in store sampling programme, along with it being their first ever digital in store advertising scheme. The machines will provide a seamless sampling experience with Ultamate Rewards members being able to claim one free sample each week from leading cosmetic, skincare and haircare brands. Customers will be able to claim their samples just by entering their email address or phone number into the machine. The machines will also incentivize new member sign ups, with the ability to create an account, and claim their sample, there and then.
Another key benefit to the SOS machines is their offer of complimentary Rael personal care products for Ulta Beauty guests, thus offering a convenient solution for customers to access necessities without cost, making the store and new machines really stand out from the crowd.
Netflix Retail Stores 
Netflix, the popular streaming service, has announced plans to open retail stores in 2025 called ‘Netflix House’. Josh Simon, Netflix’s vice president of consumer products, states the stores will be a combination of retail, dining and live experiences, offering fans the opportunity to fully immerse themselves into their favourite TV shows and provide a completely unique and interactive experience.
The first two Netflix House locations will be established in the USA with plans for global expansion following this. This move twists the original idea of retail branching into digital solutions and allows a digital company to capitalize on their current success and further engage with its audience by moving into the retail space.
Oxford Street Thriving 
An important element to these in-store digital solutions that should be noted is that traditional retail is far from over. While the landscape has certainly evolved and adapted with the changing of times, there is still nothing that quite matches up to that feeling of browsing a store and its shelves – the ability to touch, feel and try products in person.
This allure can be seen with the transformation of the world class shopping destination of Oxford Street in London. Following announcements earlier this year of the iconic street’s “facelift” to attract more visitors, there has been a surge in take-up by big brands and stores over the past year.
With global brand Dr Martens being set to open its 100th store on Oxford Street, Sam Foyle, co-head of prime global retail at Savills said, “Dr Martens are a sign of the quality of new tenants signing to take flagship stores on Oxford Street following recent openings by Rituals, Pandora, Foot Asylum, Reserved, Under Armour and PSG to name a few. There are going to be many more announcements in the coming weeks.”
In conclusion, the integration of in-store digital and interactive elements has marked a new chapter in the retail playbook. It’s clear that these solutions will only become more and more prevalent as time goes on. No longer mere novelties or flash-in-the-pan fads, digital solutions are enhancing convenience, engagement and efficiency within stores. Not with the intention of replacing the traditional retail experience, but elevating it, the most successful stores strike a careful balance between using technology and the unique human experience of the in-person shopping trip.
One thing is clear, the journey doesn’t end here – with the promise of even more innovative solutions pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of the high street, the retail sector will continue to thrive and ensure that the in-store shopping experience remains not only relevant, but exciting, for many years to come.