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This morning I was on London’s Regent Street, so I thought I’d promenade up and down (from Oxford Circus, South to Piccadilly Circus) and check which of the mega brands here acknowledge their digital presence in window displays.

That's just the shop window, I didn't go into the store (incidently, West End stores have been slow to adopt in-store tech). In this instance I just wanted to see who pointed online from their front of store merchandising.

I was quite surprised. Some were good, and some were simple and clear. Others were token, and plenty didn’t mention online at all.  

The shops I looked at that didn't have any mention of online:

  • Armani
  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • French Connection
  • Levi’s
  • Apple
  • Hamleys
  • Uniqlo
  • And lots more

Considering Regent St even has its own social hub, I think the stores could stand to do more with their displays to include stock and also details of online media. Not one of the shops I saw pointed explicitly to content online, such as YouTube vids or competitions.

Likely there are some stores with some of this inside, but they’re missing all the window shoppers.

For those of you compulsive enough to enjoy looking at galleries of shop windows, here you go!

The best?

Clarks

This could be bigger, but it’s got everything, mobile, online store, returns detail, QR code.

Clarks shows how easy it is to make an impact in the window display.

A card casually thrown into the best desert boots. Impactful and shows its creds once again.

 

Gant

Gant showing click and collect, and prominently showing their rugger line Twitter handle and hashtag.

Gant were overall one of the most impressive on my jaunt down Regent Street.

Piddly QR codes

Timberland

Good content promised here, '40 years of the original yellow boot', so perhaps a url, too, would have been appropriate.

United Nudes

Not the mosteye-catching, but it does link to email sign-up, the only one of these I came across.

 

Click and collect

A suprising lack of click and collect, I thought. Along with Gant, only Barbour's reseller were ahead of the game:

Barbour reseller, Highlands Store.

In-store wi-fi

Only one boasting of this service. Hats off to Ted Baker and The Cloud.

This pic features a little easter egg of your noble author.

Hashtag action

Burberry

The digital luxe pioneers of course have a trendy hashtag in their window.

#thisisbrit: an intriguing hashtag I think. And indeed, I’ve found a lovely Tumblr that goes with it.

Molton Brown

Trying to be a tease with its new ‘Time to bare all, skin that’s too good to hide’ campaign.

I'm not sure what the hashtag adds here, or what we’re meant to use it for. Hell, it’s better than nothing.

 

Michael Kors

#watchhungerstop -No exposition here. I suppose this could intrigue me enough to make me check out the hashtag, after all, I did with the Burberry tag.

But this tag seems hidden away, not boldly on show, and it also sounds rather preachy rather than something that's going to supply me with content (that makes me bad, I know).

Perhaps in-store there’s some more explanation. Again, better than nothing.

 

Web address

Kipling makes the good point: ‘shop 24/7’.

After all, your shop front is on display all night long, when the doors aren’t open. A nice little reminder to go online.

 

Hackett

Just about, though the sticker itself is nice and clear.

 

The Hackett window did come with a bonus badger.

And a bonus fox.

Zara 

Nice and clear from the behemoth that is Zara.

Austin Reed

Plain as you like, but present, at least.

Mango 

Good work from Mango.

Accessorize 

Accessorize doing well to publicise their website and sister website, Monsoon.

Desigual

Meh.

Could do better

Superdry seems a perfect fit with digital/social campaigns.

But there's nothing really in the window, and it doesn’t feel very innovative.

 

Swarovski

Only just.

 

Gap

Although this looks nice and clear, it’s actually on a fairly skinny door frame and is a bit out of the way. They probably should have something in the main windows.

Gap are associated with innovation in advertising, so I’d expect more by way of digital nod in its display.

& other stories

A fantastic new store owned by H&M, with a new website and seemingly all set to dominate.

But nothing in the shop window apart from what looks like a bullet hole. 

Econsultancy's How the Internet Can Save the High Street report contains more than 60 recommendations for retailers who want to succeed in a digital age, covering topics including in-store wi-fi, 'reserve and collect', in-store kiosks and 'pop-up shops'.

Ben Davis

Published 24 October, 2013 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (10)

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Clare Evans

It's great to see the High Street and digital coexisting harmoniously; the future of retail definitely lies in brands creating a seamless experience that transcends across the two.

Brands shouldn't be afraid to add these digital elements and nods to ecommerce in their store. It's refreshing to see such diverse labels - both luxury and affordable embracing the world of online retail.

over 2 years ago

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Richard Hamer

I've worked with numerous restaurants in a marketing capacity over the past few years and they are the worst ones in terms of getting social media.
Trying to explain about placing a simple thing like a Facebook sticker on the window or door just falls on deaf ears.
And then there's the illiterate restaurant owners who do their social media on an iPhone.

over 2 years ago

Julia Timms

Julia Timms, Marketing Director at Goodman Real Estate Advisers (UK) Limited

shocking really and could do better - how many actually put anything on the receipts or even at the cashpoints?

over 2 years ago

Tim Watson

Tim Watson, Email Marketing Consultant at Zettasphere

Thanks for compiling the examples, saved me walking the street.

I was interested to see the email signup example for United Nudes.

A test showed that using SMS offline as a response channel to gain email susbscribers (SMS-2-Subscribe) works 3.3x better than a URL and QR codes just don't work.

Details of how SMS performed much better are here http://www.zettasphere.com/email-list-growth-increased-3-3x/

Also the headline and call to action of their display is weak. Nobody wants to 'subscribe to a newsletter'. People want the benefits of being a subscriber. Exclusive invitations, savings, be the first to know and so on.

The headline can call to action should be stressing the value of subscribing.

My experience is if they used a more appropriate response channel (SMS) and focused the motivation on benefits they would see much higher email list growth.

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Tim

Brilliant, thanks for your thoughts, Tim!

A word on SMS, though. I'd posit that the takeout food section, if not an exception, is at least a sector likely to see much more engagement through SMS than say retail.

That's because the customer usually gets a call when the food arrives, so is used to this kind of interaction with restaurants. A small point perhaps, but that's why Papa Johns can get away with such aggressive sms marketing.

However, agree completely there's much more United Nudes can do to make their email subscription more compelling, whatever medium they use.

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Tim

Although, having thought about it (after rattling off that comment), there's no reason that 'text TOPSHOP to 555 for our newsletter' wouldn't work well if placed in the shop window.

Certainly quicker and easier.

over 2 years ago

Tim Watson

Tim Watson, Email Marketing Consultant at Zettasphere

@Ben yes, you may be right about SMS for outbound marketing. That it can only work for some brands.

I see the use of SMS for inbound purpose such as SMS-2-Subscribe to capture email addresses as very different to the cases when outbound SMS works.

So as you say, 'text TOPSHOP to 555 for our newsletter' would be fine. Or even better add on to that an incentive, such as a 'and a 10% welcome'.

This is what Deal Monster did, they offered an incentive to signup and the incentive was then delivered by email in instant response to the SMS from the new subscriber.

over 2 years ago

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Ben Goodwin

I'm not really sure what the point of putting a website on a shop window is? Not like there's any harm in it but unless it's still 1999 nobody's going to be thinking "wow, they have a website too"

I don't really see any merit to a prominence of "digital" in shop windows, where's the upside? The good examples here don't seem like things that are going to translate to any meaningful amount of £ or traffic?

The 3 separate lists here don't really bare any correlation to the company's online presence/sales either which tells me it's largely pointless.

That's not to say digital doesn't have a place inside shops - Apple are probably the best example of this, they're in your list of companies that don't bother in their windows but they'd be number 1 of a list of stores using tech and online in-store.

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff

@Ben

I thought the same thing, and still do to an extent. Seems a bit obvious to stick a url in a window, and not doing it hasn't affected some brands.

But I think there are also some subtler factors at play. Apple doesn't really have any competition, they're the biggest company in the world.

In the world of retail, if you're Monsoon for example - ecommerce is still fairly novel and something you're trying to 'jack'.

If you're not a big store like TopShop, can you be sure you'll be browsed online, in the same way you are browsed, by chance, by virtue of having Regent St real estate? Do customers search for dresses on Google, or simply navigate to a website that comes to mind?

For a smaller retailer with big competition, conceivably making 'physical noise' about your digital adventures is enough to give an entire passing public a reminder to shop online, even if only subconsciously. Subliminal advertising works, so why can't a simple URL?

It's also probably on trend to place a hashtag in a window, even if nobody acts on it, it still gives the impression of a modern brand.

Aside from all these possibly unmeasurable factors (hasn't window merchandising always been a pseudo science?) I believe it's definitely good practice to showcase, for example, click and collect in the window. Say I have 10 bags already, I'm browsing in the window and think 'I'll reserve something from Gant tonight and come in on lunch tomorrow to collect'.

Perhaps all conjecture, but for the price of some stickering or some posters, I think it's worth it.

over 2 years ago

Antoine Becaglia

Antoine Becaglia, Digital Strategist at WebPropaganda Ltd

So let's not have mixed feelings about who is "digital" and who is "social media"... Firstly using social media or social mediocrity are two different things, some hashtags might be a clever way to get interaction from customers but displaying logos of FB and twitter does not do much. QR codes! Despite the display of them, we have not seen any "magical" results from them - hardly anyone on a shopping spree will use them (I am not biased here I give years of experience and analytics with high street retailers of all sorts).

over 2 years ago

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