2009.43 | Experience Based Retail

500x_Microsoft_Store_topRetail is certainly moving away from the old fashioned stores we knew as children, where one walks in and just buys something off the shelf.  With so much competition, convenience and so much available for purchase online, it seems inevitable that many specialty retailers will work towards experience based retailing to differentiate themselves.

HMV announced this week that they will open a movie theatre above a store in London.  Microsoft opened its first “we’re hip like Apple, too” Store this week in Arizona.

At the suggestion of Steve Jobs, who is on their Board of Directors, Disney is moving in the same direction, and are reputedly looking at a major overhaul of their retail chain which is expected to leverage the same interactive store model and wireless handheld POS as the Apple store.

On the content side, Disney’s Keychain solution promises consumers the opportunity to use media across platforms. This seems like the answer to the age old problem of buying the same media on multiple formats (anyone remember betamax, VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray), but its use will certainly depend on what price they are looking for as well as the requirement for one to be online all the time to consume.  The technology seems solid as long as consumers can get past the need for the tangible item – did I mention price and bandwidth?  Downloaded a 2Gb movie lately?  Yikes.

In the world of experience with self-service, Tesco opened its first all self-checkout store this week in the UK.   Now they have full self-checkout – assisted self service, really – on two continents.

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