15th August 2017
Introduced late last year in Cambridge, the format has since been adapted and refined at a further six sites – in Staines, Sittingbourne, Crewe, Salford, Oxford and Chesterfield – where stores have seen an average 15 per cent increase in like-for-like sales, with an 18 per cent increase in footfall, says 20.20 managing director Jim Thompson.
A further 20 locations are now to be refurbished before Christmas 2017. Maplin has 217 stores in total.
The new format incorporates a number of interactive digital features, developed with SignStix, as part of a strategy to open up a dialogue with a new generation of shoppers. In the first four months of trading, technology installed in the Cambridge store recorded 20,000 digital interactions with customers, with typical dwell time doubling as a result.
Maplin was keen to address a perception amongst potential customers that the store was focused on electronics hobbyists, which put off some from visiting. “Our traditional customer – real technology experts – were shifting their buying patterns online, so our 218 stores were not working well enough for those who wanted to understand how tech could improve their lives,” Maplin director of customer experience Jessica Waters told Retail Design Expo audiences. “Product was stacked too high, and it was hard to find. People described it as an Aladdin’s Cave, which was hard to navigate.”
The new format reduces product density to make navigation easier. Smart and connected home technology has been used as a key driver of engagement, with the stores offering advice on how to make the most of the diverse products available.
A Smart Life hub area, distinguished by a distinctive LED lighting feature, lets customers play and experiment with products to see the tangible benefits they offer.
Consultation areas, interactive tables to show how devices link together, and in-store communications based around product stories have all helped to encourage greater shopper engagement.
Maplin marketing and multichannel director Siobhan Fitzpatrick told Retail Design World that Smart Home sales increased by 130 per cent when the Cambridge store introduced the new format.
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