A shoe shop has opened in the western Polish city of Wrocław that more or less embodies the direction of travel that retail seems to be taking currently.
Designed by consultancy Dalziel & Pow and dubbed Eobuwie.pl, this is the first physical store that the footwear etailer has opened.
What makes it different from many others following the online to offline route is that it not only remains online, but there is no stock on the floor of the physical store.
“The 100,000 pairs of shoes that the shop holds at any one time are in the stockroom and can be viewed via tablets”
Instead, those walking into this one, after having been lured by a couple of large screens positioned at the door, are confronted by an interior that looks somewhere between a large branch of Argos and a shoe shop where screens take the place of displays.
The idea is simple. The 100,000 pairs of shoes that the shop holds at any one time are in the stockroom and can be viewed via tablets positioned around the store.
The retailer claims that when a choice is made, the selected style will be ready to be tried on in less than three minutes – well up to scratch when set against more conventional retailers.
The real point about the store, however, is that an enormous stockroom is made possible by removing stock from the selling floor.
As such, the experience is actually pretty similar to shopping online; the difference being that when a selection is made there is near instantaneous gratification, rather than the wait that usually accompanies this kind of retail transaction.
“Eobuwie is that rare breed, a shop that has screens and physical stock and which has the capacity to marry the two in an acceptable manner”
There has, lately, been something of a move away from ‘interactive’ screens in stores as many are saying that shoppers head to the shops to shop.
Eobuwie is that rare breed, a shop that has screens and physical stock and which has the capacity to marry the two in an acceptable manner.
The much-vaunted advantage that online has over offline is that there is almost endless choice. There are those who prefer this to be made more straightforward by allowing the retailer to be the editor who will ‘curate’ what’s out there.
That said, if choice and instant wearability can really be combined, then it may be that this argument falls somewhat by the wayside.
There are many possible futures for retail at the moment and it would take a real prophet to predict which way the cards will eventually fall, but Eobuwie.pl does seem to offer a different alternative from the current paradigm.