I have been directing “Retail Innovation” joint module organized by ESADE Business School and the University St.Gallen (Switzerland) for ten years now. Many attendees in this course are Central-European senior managers. This year several participants came with an intention of discovering what to do with the excessive store space left due to the drastic increase in online shopping. Evidently, digital ways of buying are changing the retail game.
But how come on 7 May 2016 a well-known optician shop GranOptic.com, which used to sell exclusively online, opened its first physical shop in the barrio of Salamanca, one of Madrid’s most iconic neighbourhoods?
It’s about omni-channel
So-called omni-channel is an omnipresent, most talked-about topic in professional forums. A topic which — finally — both the directors and the academics agree on. It has become essential and is here to stay.
Generally speaking, with omni-channel we usually refers to a company that sells through physical stores, and then, offers a web or an app for its customers to buy via internet. The customers are recognized and treated according to their personal characteristics, no matter the interface they decide to use to buy each time.
However, nowadays some companies reverse it by moving from the digital to the physical. GranOptic is a clear example of this kind of reversed omni-channel.
Getting to know GranOptic
GranOptic has operated on the internet since 2013, the time when this selling method didn’t have a prominent role in retail yet.
The qualified optician behind the project, Juan Carlos González del Álamo, had a clear business vision. He knew how to interpret the situation of his hardly differentiated, banalized and “commoditized” sector which competed more and more on price.
As a result, people were no longer considering prescription glasses as an implicating product; they perceived less risk of error when buying them. The playing field was designed so that people wouldn’t find acquiring eyeglasses online problematic, as long as the companies would offer a minimum guarantee, as GranOptic.com does.
GranOptic sells mainly different kinds of prescription and sunglasses, with a range of 180 brands, some of which are well-known (Boss, Carrera, Oakley, Adidas, Arnette, Police, Calvin Klein, Carolina Herrera, Alain Mikli, Ray-Ban, Dior, Diesel, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, etc.) at a discounted price. They offer a 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee, free shipping on orders over 50 €, and of course, a secure payment.
74% of GranOptic.com’s clients are from outside Spain, so its customer service staff speaks various languages.
The company’s marketing activity is highly proactive; they offer, for example, the glasses worn by the cyclists of the Vuelta a España race.
Consequently, the company’s results are remarkably successful. According to the data from the end of August 2016, during the past 12 months the company’s turnover had grown by an impressive 98%. In addition, its customers rated their satisfaction level very high (8.1 out of 10) according to TrustPilot ratings.
The new challenge
In 2015, GranOptic was fully established, but its CEO was already visualizing new strategies. After reflecting the situation, three possible routes were arisen: to continue developing GranOptic.com, to open a physical store with a different approach from the ones in the sector, or to combine the latter two. The third option was agreed on, making the two commercial formats (physical and digital) merge into one.
Once decided, an innovation team was created, consisting of five people: the CEO, two trusted managers, and two consultants from a small, internationally experienced Barcelonian company specialised in retail and latest generation marketing. This team of five devised and developed the new omni-channel retail concept in just 3 months.
In the end, GranOptic relied on an extremely creative architect, who accepted the challenge of expressing the concept the innovation team had previously devised.
This is how, on 7 May 2016, Gran Optic opened its first physical store on Calle Goya 28, almost in the corner of the streets named after two great painters, Goya and Velázquez.
GranOptic.com and GranOptic: the synergy between two shops
GranOptic’s Goya store seeks not only to offer a very comfortable shopping experience, but also to facilitate a truly exciting imagination.
That is why the shop’s scenography pivots on the semiotics of magical realism, excellently expressed by the architect, in the 400 m2 store space spread over 3 floors. Each floor transmits the desired meaning to the visitor through 5 elements: staging — better not call it decoration —, the appropriate assortment, services required, sales processes and subtly integrated technologies.
In this article we focus on the elements that particularly facilitate the synergy between the two stores:
The sales processes can be almost identical, since they are based on the same information system of the digital store (for example, the database of products, customers, etc.).
The mirrors customers use when trying the glasses on have a built-in cameras. The camera allows, if desired, the client to take pictures with the possible frames and send them to people who are not present at the moment, to ask for their opinion.
The customer service tables are fairly large interactive screens. There the clients and the specialist together personalise the glasses, integrating the best of the physical and the digital store: they interact with those whose opinion they find important, retrieve and re-observe the photos. They can touch the glasses they like the most or look for variants of frames in a considerably larger assortment on the web, check lens options with audiovisual help, and at all times, see in real time how the budget varies.
The aim is the clients feel taken care of by all the assistance: by others who are far away, by the specialist and by the interactive system itself. However, the help isn’t passive, but empowering: no one pressures and the client him or herself controls the evolution of the purchase, including the budget. This way, the decision taken is most certainly a wise choice when it comes to the aesthetics and visual health.
But how does the physical store affect the digital store?
When potential customers consider buying prescription glasses and enter the web, they discover the company owns this innovative physical store.This positive surprise creates great credibility.
And if GranOptic.com manages to generate even more peace in people’s mind when buying remotely via digital devices, the increase in sales can be enormous. Trusting the selling company is a scarce resource when a person buys for the first time on a website.
In short, GranOptic is not that much of an online company with a physical store, nor a physical store with a web. It is rather a retail ecosystem that improves customers’ quality of life when buying prescription glasses, and thereby, flees the terrible “commoditization” of its sector.
On November 18th 2015, Media Markt announced its opening of the sector’s “most technological store” in Getafe (Madrid) — a 2,400 square-metre shop where around 5,000 products could be found with electronic labels showing prices matching those on its website. They said it had white, lower-level furniture, and that training courses would be provided. And it would offer a product-pickup Stop&Go service, a kind of drive-through service.
Despite Madrid’s being its flagship store, it failed to cause any rivers of ink to flow. It was an incremental evolution.
240 days later, the situation is radically different. On Saturday 16th July 2016, Media Markt opened its “Digital Store” in Barcelona’s city centre, at a site previously occupied by “Casa Danone”. This store is going to create an impact not only in the sector, but also in the way electronic products are purchased.
What we can found
Walking along Avenida Diagonal — on the water side — we see a shop front that looks very different to any of the chain’s other stores, with signs that are not easy to read due to their position on the glass window.
On the left-hand side, in the shop window, the movement of a restless robot can be seen attracting the looks of the passers-by. It is a great example of what a shop-window should be: a real ad, instead of a product-warehouse-shop-window.
Its entrance is already special: no products can be seen, just a digital screen and people who greet you as you walk in.
Afterwards, you see a number of zones (called “worlds” or “universes”) corresponding to conventional product categories: Image & Sound, Household appliances, IT, Telephones, and Fun & Photo.
In each of these zones, no products are on display, but a full-sized digital wall (d-wall), where moving e-people invite you to touch the screen.
On each d-wall there is an embedded “screen” showing you what is available on the mediamarkt.es website. In actual fact, its contents are the same as the website’s.
That is a wise and cheap way of creating a new pilot store, supported by economies of scope.
There, visitors can search for the product they are interested in, just as they would online.
It is very important to note the large number of staff offering to help visitors choose a product.
There are also zones with uncommon product categories, such as the phone protective-cover customisation, produced on the spot.
Every retail solution is built by three components (products, services and activities), with the second being the important one here. Specifically, business services such as financing, post-sale installation, phone contracts, digital photography printing from a variety of media, etc. become key services.
Once you have chosen your product, payment can be made at interactive kiosks — even with PayPal — and in less than two minutes you can pick up your product from a warehouse desk, with one single queue, where your turn will be announced. Previous purchases made online can also be picked up from here.
Essentially, this store is based on an old retail format that had been struggling to survive: the “catalogue showroom”, the leader of its type being Argos, in the UK. This British chain’s paper catalogues have already been replaced by interactive screens. In the new Media Markt store, such screens have got larger, more theatrical, to become d-walls.
Ultimately, it offers some non-commercial services that are very attractive to its visitors.
The training and events area, next to a wall with an interactive projection where children can add their own drawings, which, once scanned, become part of the projected picture story.
And finally, an area for experiencing virtual reality, as attractive as it is incipient, commercially speaking.
Whether at this store or online — which is, in fact, the same — the purchased products can be collected from an uninterrupted 24-hour service, and handed out by the robot in the shop window.
Here, again, we observe that functionality (logistics) is combined with surprise and playfulness.
The store, from a management perspective
If we compare some of Media Markt’s various retail formulas, we can observe:
The best 3 things about this store – from a management perspective
Its playful component, plus the use of the surprise effect starting at the shop façade with its robot, and continuing with its customising of accessories, its virtual reality area, etc.
The determination shown by this pilot store. It is a good example of how R&D should be done in retailing, testing to the maximum — focusing on a core idea — without overly worrying about mistakes, or about the investment in the pilot store. If approached with the “hand-brake” on, its conclusions would not help to learn, improve or rule out.
This store is proof of the clear support provided by Ferran Reverter, Spanish CEO, and the Managing Board, because they have had to make some hugely important decisions:
Removing most physical products from the store.
Having understood that you can no longer think in terms of online or offline shopping, but OnOff shopping. A large majority of customers visit the website before going to the physical store, or they do so once they are in it. As such, they have understood that the debate between a bricks-and-mortar store and the Internet cannot be resolved with incremental patches, but with a new business model.
Accepting that a new business model must be validated: a very different Profit & Loss Account, as well as an investment need very different to that of conventional stores.
Motivated and friendly staff who show their pride of belonging, aware that they are co-protagonists of an innovation.
The 2 things that could be improved upon by this store – from a management perspective
Both relate to the convenience (process) part of the shopping experience.
Firstly, given that the d-wall contents are the same as online, why would someone choose to travel to the store to use Media Markt’s website standing up, instead of sitting down on their own sofa? The answer is: because its salespeople’s help is very superior to online personal help; i.e., a chat.
Secondly, the way of filtering the products until finding the one that best suits the customer. Here, this process is done by focusing on the product’s features rather than on the customer’s. What happens when you do not know what the number of spins per minute on a washing machine means? That such variable is no longer a good filtering criterion. Its positive side: this lack of customer-centricity is an endemic problem also suffered by most competitors.
Let’s not forget: Buying consists of ruling items out.
As a way of conclusion
Not many new things can be found in this retail concept but, as a whole, its meaning is different to that of existing stores within the sector. For example, a digital interactive wall had already been presented at Berlin’s World Retail Congress, in September 2011:
This is how I visualise the ideal way of using this store:
Try choosing your product sitting on your sofa, where you will be able to complement the information with that on other websites. Once you have made your product shortlist, go to the Digital Store, where you will find exceptional, super-motivated, smiling staff to help you choose the product. You may be able to leave “wearing it”, or a robot may hand it to you on Sunday, on your way to (or after) an evening out.
Media Markt, which had not been quick to react to digitisation, is now not only up-to-date but it is leaping ahead. Paradoxically, it is doing so by using the old showroom-catalogue format, a website-shop with the possibility of being the worst of both worlds. However, by adding 3 ingredients (surprise-playfulness, great staff, and very well-thought-out services) it has created the catalogue showroom 2.0, a new omnichannel benchmark.
Retailink project, in which six mid-sized European cities will exchange experiences and create strategies for innovation for the commercial offer, initially launched in Igualada in June, will now hold a new meeting in Sibenik (Croatia) on Wednesday, 5 and Thursday 6 October with two full days of exchange, learning and experiences.
On the second day, I will lead a workshop focused on creating new and innovative retail strategies for this type of cities.
"Prefiéreme, cariño. Cómo afrontar los retos actuales del marketing usando la neurociencia". With this title the conference Lluís Martínez-Ribes will take place within the framework of the Cosmetorium, from idea to product , an event that will be be held at the Palau de Congressos de Barcelona on the Fira de Montjuïc, in september from 28th to 29th.
On Thursday 2 June I’ll participate as a speaker in the seminars organised by the City Hall of Igualada, in the frame of the project Retalink, in which six European medium cities will share experiences and will create strategies to innovate in the commercial offer.
On Thurdsay 28 April will take place the annual seminar of Sport Cultura Barcelona in ESADE Forum, this year organised with the collaboration of Esade. In this seminar, called “The human angle of management”, we’ll share methods so that managers can “be more human” in our job, surviving the pressures of such a hard and changing context.
That’s the English translation of an article published in El País on April 7th, with which I had the opportunity to collaborate as an expert. In it, I highlight, among others, the importance of our customers’ context and of awakening their imagination to become their chosen option.
On Thursday, April 14, I will participate in the conference Italian Neuromarketing Days, that will take place in Rome, with the speech: “Choose me, darling. Facing current marketing challenges using neurosciene”, in which I will talk abput how neuroscience can help us become our customers' chosen option.
On Thursday 25 I will participate in the Popai Experience that will take place in the Chef Space of Caprabo in Illa Diagonal Shopping Center, in which I’ll talk about how the growth of the e-shops impacts the policies to implement in the physical stores.
On Wednesday, 17th February will take place the Annual meeting of the Beauty Cluster Barcelona, event in which I will participate with the speech “Marketing for bionic people. Neuroscience applied to smartphones. In it I’ll discuss the huge growth of smartphones penetration. This phenomenon changes the way we socialize, shop and live our lives.
A significant change is also required in both marketing and retail. At the end, we will understand how apps can please the human brain.
On Friday 15th January I will give a speech at Caritas Diocesana Lleida about how social organisations can achieve connecting with the society. It is the second conference to the organisation about this topic, and it has the intention to get to the practical aspects to achieve the proposed goal. A good opportunity to see how the advances in neuroscience can also be useful for social organisations.
On Tuesday 3rd November, I will participate in “Savant E-Commerce” in London, event of reference in the world of e-commerce and multichannel, focused on orienting to a customer-centric retailing. Mi speech will be about how to create purchasing processes that please the brain.
Yesterday, 27 October, took place the 18th edition of the awards “Commerce of Barcelona” (until now, “Barcelona, the best shop in the world”). in which I participate as part of the jury of the proposed candidatures. This awards recognise commercial initiatives of 2014 in categories such as proximity, sustainability or accessibility, among others.
On October 7th I will participate as a speaker in the eTail conference that will take place in London about profitability in e-commerce operations.
My conference, included in the track “Applying neuroscience to retail operations”, will discuss about the “always connected shoppers”, in order to understand their psyche and inspire the companies’ demand driven supply chain.
On 5 August I was interviewed by Comfluencia, a group of experts in communication that owns a blog and which is doing a series of interviews to outstanding professionals to gather their communicative vision.
In the interview I was asked about the importance of communication and how to get it to be truly efficient, so that it can benefit the company or institution that is developing it.
On Tuesday 30th June I will participate in the panel discussion “Neuroscience and creativity” together with Alfons Cornella and Óscar Vilarroya..
This conversation, organised by the Association of friends of UAB, will take place at 19h at Palau Macaya, and it’s included in the cycle of Dialogues 3C, which has the objective of proposing a systemic, prospective and ambitious look for the analysts of the relationship between university and society.
3-day Immersion in Retail Innovation.
Next edition: June 2015, from Wednesday 17th, to Friday 19th, in Barcelona.
Due to the experiential method, there is only room for few participants.
If you feel your are a person who thinks out of the box and wants to go one step further in retail innovation, this is the experience for you
If you want to know more about this immersion, click on the image, or contact
Ursi Van der Herten at ESADE.
On Thursday, 21st May, I’ll participate in Connected Stores, an event that brings together the leading experts of the retail companies.
I’ll give a speech in the plenary session under the title “How smartphones are non-consciously changing customer’s life”. In the afternoon, I will catalyse a creative workshop about how neuromarketing can boost m-commerce.
On Thursday, 14th May I’ll give a conference at Esade Creapolis with the title “Neuromarketing applied to smartphones & m-commerce”,
in which I’ll discuss the huge growth of smartphones penetration. This phenomenon changes the way we socialize, shop and live our lives.
A significant change is also required both in marketing and retail. At the end, we will understand how apps can please the human brain.
Tomorrow, April 30th, I’ll participate in a conference organised by Espai Armengol and Figueres Commerce Association, together with Odón Martí, called “Opportunities to personalise customers’ purchases and sell more”.
A set of techniques in retail to allow companies to captivate their customers with products and services that may please the human brain will be detailed.
Today, 21st April and tomorrow is taking place in Berlin a conference on e-commerce and multi-channel strategies organised by Savant, in which the most notorious experts in the field are participating to discuss the cutting-edge issues.
This morning, I had the opportunity to participate with a speech about Neuromarketing & Mobile, a core topic.
On Monday April 20th took place in Berlin a session organised by Esade Alumni, in which I explained how to apply neuroscience to marketing, concretely to smartphones. In this event, we’ll try to understand how apps can please the human brain.
Yesterday took place in Madrid an event organised by Foro de Marcas Renombradas, Jardín de Junio and Esade, about the importance of positive language in business management.
I participated in it with a speech about neuromarketing applied to smartphones, intervention that complemented the other experts’, Mario Sandoval, Manuel Martín Loeches, Pilar Nicolás and Luís Castellanos.
On 14th and 15th April will take place the Madrid Retail Congress, a landmark event and a space of meeting and knowledge sharing in different areas of the retail sector.
On the second day, I’ll take part with the speech “Applying neuromarketing to m-commerce”, addressing how neuromarketing strategy can help creating habits, finding ways to boost imagination and emotions.
On Thursday 2nd April (10 am), I will participate as a speaker at an event in Bucharest (Romania), that focuses on changes in retail. The conference is organized by the Rumanian magazine "Bliz", specialized in retail. My lecture will approach the issue of "Retail innovation and neuromarketing”.
If you are around Bucarest by these dates, you can register here.
The annually organized event by NMBSA (Neuromarketing Science & Business Association) takes place this 2015 in Barcelona. During these three days experts from very different approaches will share their sights to discuss and expand on this topic as exciting as present nowadays.
On Wednesday 25th I will participate as a speaker with the conference "Neuro Strategy applied to Business: How to formulate a neuromarketing strategy".
This days is taking place the Mobile Shopping Europe event in London, which tries to define a roadmap to m-ommerce success. I will participate in the event with the presentation “Transforming your touch device strategy with neuromarketing: Brand, Device and Body” on Thursday 12.
The event brings together various experts in retail, journeys and finance to analyze the most innovative strategies to optimize and adapt to the consumers. It includes more than 30 sessions as a result of a three-month investigation period, during which the industry has adressed the most relevant issues around m-commerce.
The conference has a strong focus on strategies to excel in a changing digital environment. The conference offers top 500 European companies a platform to gain the essential strategic insights on digital commerce in the retailing business, in order to secure, retain or improve their position and be prepared for the future.
Lluís Martínez-Ribes will take part as speaker with the conference "Neuromarketing and m-commerce. How apps may please the human brain".
17th "Barcelona, the best shop in the world" Awards On October 20th, 2014, the City Council of Barcelona held its gala "Barcelona, the best shop in the world." Lluís Martínez-Ribes, as an expert, is a member of the jury that analyzes the applications submitted.
These awards recognize the best 2013 business initiatives based on positive aspects such as proximity, innovation, sustainability, social cohesion and cultural development of the city. This year they have added a new category, accessibility, that distinguishes establishments that contribute to improving the attention to customers with disabilities.
October 8th takes place this event where Lluis Martinez-Ribes will participate as a Speaker.
Innovation in Retailing and the Contribution of Neuromarketing On September 25 Ambrosetti Club organized in Firenze, a meeting named "Innovation in Retailing and the Contribution of Neuromarketing”, in which Lluís Martínez-Ribes presented the topic. From the first time someone searched the concept neuromarketing on Google, just a decade ago, the interest about it has been growing so much that there is a risk now for the concept to be misunderstood, used in a wrong way or confused. Which are the most efficient methods in neuromarketing to innovate in retail? How can we create a concept of innovative shop, more human, more magical and also more efficient in a business context?
3-day Immersion in Retail Innovation Lluis Martinez-Ribes will lead this 3-day immersion focused on using
neuromarketing to devise innovative retail concepts, not only at the
conceptual level, but also by experiencing with the methods.
This unique experience will be held in Esade Barcelona in June 18th to
20th. After the great success and excellent reviews from previous
editions, this will be the second year of this immersion in English.
Experts from different areas such as Ralf Ebert (Marketing Director,
Animal Health, Bayer), Rafael Ramírez (Artificial Intelligence and
Data Mining, UPF) or Stephan Siegel (CEO, Not Just a Label) will share their knowledge and experience with the participants.
#digitalTHINK Conference Wednesday, May 14th takes place at ESADE CREAPOLIS a session where Lluis Martinez-Ribes will participate leading the workshop about e-commerce.
The session is focused about the impact of digitalisation in marketing, emphasising in three key elements: e-commerce, co-creation through digital media and digital strategy. At the end of the session the conclusions achieved at each workshop will be shared with all the participants.
Conference: Neuromarketing applied to Retail Innovation The Open Innovation Community from ESADE organizes the Open Conference "Neuromarketing applied to Retail Innovation". The event, lead by Lluís Martínez-Ribes, will be on Tuesday April 29th at 18:30h in the Auditorium (1C17) from ESADECREAPOLIS (Sant Cugat).
The aim of the sessions to practice curiosity, feed the reflection and stimulate their imagination, exploring the basis and some practices of the marketing based on the non-conscious.
“The Multichannel Opportunity” is the topic of this VIII edition, trying to provide a better understanding of what customers really value and how to lead the products and services through the right channel at the right time. Lluis Martinez-Ribes’s talk will be about “The non consciousness marketing applied to retail innovation and multichannel”.
EuroShop 2014 EuroShop, the world’s leading retail trade fair, will open up again this year at Dusseldorf from February 16th to the 20th.
Lluis Martínez-Ribes will attend to this event, where every three years the worldwide best professionals from the sector meet up together to exhibit and exchange ideas about trends and innovations in retailing from every point of view, either design, lighting or multichannel strategies.
Conference: Non-consciousness based marketing Esade Alumni organizes the session "Non-Counsciousness marketing: Bases and practices". The event, guided by Lluís Martínez-Ribes, will be on tuesday 3th of december in the Esade Forum of Barcelona.
The objective of the session is the enhancement of the personal capacities and stimulating the imagination, exploring the bases and some practices of the non-counsciousness marketing.
A best view November 12th, Barcelona Cor Eixample (Barcelona) organizes a conference guided by Lluis Martínez-Ribes about how to see through other perspectives for a better understanding of the commerce. One of the main obstacles for innovation is the difficulty of viewing some existing facts, so the session will try to put together and share knowledges and ideas of managing through other points of view not so usuals.
"Imagination sells".New session in Bilbao. The next session on Neuromarketing to set business models (ESADE Alumni), guided by Lluís Martínez-Ribes, will be on Bilbao. The event has already been successfully conducted in some territorial clubs ESADE Alumni like Tarragona, Valencia, Zaragoza and Barcelona, and has now it's appointment in Bilbao on November 14th (Hotel Ercilla). The session explores how to use certain learning from neuroscience to set effective business models.
Different visions for a single target. October 28th. Barcelona Retailers, technicians, associations and government met in the framework of the 1st Congress of Commerce of Barcelona to discuss different views and input on urban commerce and proximity. Lluis Martinez-Ribes participated in the round table on the theme "We convince our audience?" brought together speakers from many different areas and experiences.
Lluis Martinez-Ribes applies neuromarketing strategy to retail and marketing innovation. He develops it in two areas: in the academia, as an associate professor at ESADE, and in consulting as partner at m+f=! (Martinez+Franch consultores). During his 35 years of professional experience he has been fortunate to practise his specialty in 25 email@example.com