BT OPENS NEW ‘ALEXANDER BLACK’ CONCEPT STORE TO HELP RETAILERS MEET THE NEEDS OF DIGITAL CONSUMERS
BT has opened a new Alexander Black digital store experience in the UK to show retailers how they can transform their physical stores to meet the needs of digital consumers.
Chasing online growth opportunities, many retailers have prioritised investments in internet and mobile shopping. The success of these two shopping methods has transformed customer expectations of service, creating a new type of customer — “the digital consumer”.
Digital consumers are people accustomed to the personalised service and rich information they get online and who expect a similar and consistent experience when shopping in retailers’ physical stores, too.
This rise in customer expectations is driving retailers’ investments in digital technology for physical stores, which still account for around 90 per cent of retail sales. With Alexander Black, BT aims to show its retail customers how to meet this digital consumer challenge and in the process drive operational efficiency, reduce cost and increase sales.
Departments in Alexander Black include fashion, homeware and grocery. It features more than 40 practical solutions that retailers can introduce to transform customer and employee experience and improve operational efficiency. It shows how integrating digital solutions can deliver a more immersive and engaging store environment for customers, helping boost loyalty and grow sales.
“People still really like shopping in physical stores but they want it to be much more like it is online: easy, personalised and entertaining,” says Hubertus von Roenne, vice president, global industry practices, at BT’s global services division.
“Alexander Black looks and feels like a real store and even includes a café to complete the shopping experience. It allows our retailer customers to get their hands on digital touch points such as a shop window display to show how they could interact with shoppers out of hours, a memory mirror with a 360o view for trying on new outfits, intelligent merchandise labels and a mobile app for the café. It integrates these solutions to blur the lines between shopping online and in-store, creating the seamless brand experience that digital consumers expect.”
Personalisation is now critical in retail. Digital consumers expect retailers to recognise them and offer tailored content and relevant special offers. BT is working with specialist solutions partners, including the Acuitas Digital Alliance, to integrate their technologies behind the scenes at Alexander Black. This will create a platform to allow retailers to mobilise their sales teams, check inventory in real time and bring together multiple data sources that they can analyse for new business insights.
“What to do is not the question,” adds von Roenne. “How to do it consistently, securely and at scale — which demands fully integrated solutions — is the tricky bit. That’s where BT can help.”
Alexander Black illustrates five journeys that a retailer needs to consider in their quest for digital transformation of their physical stores:
1. Seamlessly engage digital consumers
2. Mobilise digital store teams
3. Digitise store operations
4. Secure the digital transformation
5. Use data analytics to drive business insight
BT’s newest Alexander Black concept store is part of the Customer Innovation Showcase located at Adastral Park, BT’s global research and development hub. BT operates a global network of innovation showcases with facilities in London, Sevenoaks and Adastral Park in the UK as well as Amsterdam, Beijing, Brussels, Delhi, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Kuala Lumpur, Madrid, Milan, Mumbai, New York, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.
Alexander Black concept stores were recently launched at the New York and Milan showcases, with a ‘pop-up’ concept store accessible at the Madrid showcase.