Mobile superstore trial sets out to discover how poster shopping will change the future of retailing

Swedish ecommerce platform provider Jetshop has provided NFC World with the preliminary results of a landmark project designed to find out how the ability for shoppers to use their mobile phone to make a purchase directly from a printed poster will affect traditional retailing.

Jetshop's pop-up poster store
JETSHOP: Impulse purchases sold well, but shopper interest waned past €150

A new take on the conventional department store concept has been undergoing testing at Stockholm Central Station, with the aim of discovering how the new generation of mobile-connected “poster stores” will impact the future of retailing.

Since Korea’s Home Plus introduced the poster store concept in June last year, the idea of using QR codes and NFC tags to let consumers make a purchase directly from a poster or out-of-home advertising board has received widespread interest.

If the new posters allow shops to be moved to where the customers already are, the Swedish project team asked, what impact will that have on shoppers, shopping centres and property owners? How much space will the shop of the future actually need and what kind of products at what kind of price points will consumers be willing to buy in this way?

To find out the answer, ecommerce platform provider Jetshop set up a 130 square metre concept superstore which featured twenty individual departments. Each department presented a selection of items available to purchase from one of Jetshop’s ecommerce platform customers, including a supermarket chain, a fashion retailer and a camping equipment specialist.

An image of the product, its price and a QR code that could be used to purchase the item by reading the 2D barcode with a mobile phone was included for each promoted product. Posters were also wrapped around sixteen pedestals in the area leading from the main station concourse to the metro station, each of which featured an individual product.

The project ran for a week from 12 March, with more than 200,000 people passing through the station each day. A video produced by Jetshop shows how the store looked:

“The superstore is an initiative to help our merchants to better understand how to use the technique to drive sales, consumer dialogue and usage of square metres for retailing,” Christian Zanders, Jetshop’s CEO, explained to NFC World.

Detailed feedback from the project as well as the results of a consumer survey which covered attitudes to the idea of pop-up shopping, mobile shopping and QR codes is currently being analysed and will be available in the next few weeks.

Preliminary results, Zanders told NFC World, indicate that “the products that worked the best were products that traditionally work the best in impulse buying, such as T-shirts, books, DVDs and cosmetics.”

“There was a sharp price barrier,” he explains. “Products priced over €150 (US$197) met very low interest.

“The store that was most successful was a cosmetic store that also was well represented with ‘perfume guides’ in the superstore. The guides carried perfume belts with sampling of the perfumes exposed at the superstore.

“Using people as guides in pop-up stores is probably a success factor,” Zanders says.

“The payment option prefered by the consumer was the one that needed the least time,” he adds. “Therefore Klarna Invoice [a “bill me later” service] was the most used. The consumer only needed to enter their personal identification number, then the system gathers the billing info from a national database. This takes only a few seconds, and when the billing info is collected the consumer clicks confirm and the order is done. The goods are sent to the consumer and the invoice is mailed or sent by SMS.”

“We are evaluating NFC tags for future campaigns but everything that requires additional downloads of software tends to radically decrease conversion in the pop-up store,” he adds. “Most consumers that made a purchase did not even have a QR reader installed in their smartphone.”

Once the full analysis from the project is complete, Jetshop will be using the information to make adjustments to the concept with the aim that ‘Superstore 2’ “will pop up somewhere, sometime this spring…”

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