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Our mission at The Industrious is to bring to our clients the innovation and digital transformation necessary to compete in retail and live spaces. In part, that means we need to be fluent in the innovations that are live in markets around the world. And one of the best aspects of my job is traveling the world to experience retail innovations live and in person.

This past week I was in Germany, The Netherlands, and England on just such a mission. The Netherlands’ MediaMarkt put forth an interesting execution. For those who don’t know, MediaMarkt is an electronics and media retailer, comparable to Best Buy in the US. MediaMarkt is the perfect environment for a high-touch retail experience.

The scale of MediaMarkt is vast. Self-serve is enabled as all products are on display and accessible. And salespeople are polite – I have always been approached whenever visiting.  Like many in this retail concept, there is so much choice in each category, it can become a bit overwhelming. For example, I counted 32 distinct electric shavers – how can one choose? Lug-ons are available and informative, but MediaMarkt requires the products to speak for themselves (sometimes with a salesperson augmenting that voice).

From my perspective, MediaMarkt is a great platform for digital transformation – interactive experiences to delight, entertain, inform, and convert into a purchase. They currently excel on two of the traditional five pillars of retail: merchandise authority and convenience. Their market leadership means shoppers will not be left wanting for selection or choice.

But new in Rotterdam is the MediaMarkt Tech Village concept store. I judge it as a bold step forward in the direction of digital transformation. This concept activates the store with the thrill of discovery with what we call brand pavilions. These brand pavilions ring the exterior walls of the store and each one brings to life the distinct narrative and characteristics of its featured brand.

The evolution of the discovery experience driven by assortment to one driven by personal brand affinity is the key.

The purpose here: not just which shavers are in stock, but why should I choose one from Phillips over one from Braun? What are the characteristics about the brand that resonate for me as a shopper? The evolution of the discovery experience driven by assortment to one driven by personal brand affinity is the key.

This echoes an execution that we designed for the retail pavilion of a cruise line. In that execution, as opposed to a fixed brand pavilion, we designed fully digital executions that permitted the changeover from one brand to the next within a few hours. The use case there was the changeover of cruisers could dramatically change the audience according to the cruise theme: perhaps the Heavy Metal and Wrestling cruise has different clientele than the Singles cruise. With this execution, we could transform the pavilion from displaying Harley Davidson to Tiffany & Co. in a few hours with the click of a mouse and a changeout of merchandise.

MediaMarkt’s Tech Village is a great variation on this concept. Shoppers who are in a hurry can easily choose brands with whom to have a conversation without being distracted by competition. And visitors who are ready to browse will enjoy a more comprehensive journey, maybe even with increased basket size.

The Tech Village is well executed with attention to design and delivery. Gorgeous environmental elements such as decoration on pillars and atmospheric digital signage calm the expansive space. Wayfinding includes the brand pavilions clearly so visitors can begin to build their journey.

Why would Media Markt make the investment? We have spoken at length about consumers’ new desire to align their personal brands with brands that matter to them. Brands have carefully curated their brand messages, carving out a unique voice where possible. Whereas previously the brand experience was personal and private, people now instantly share impressions of the brand experience with social media mentions. This means that “word-of-mouth” can now be measured and evaluated. This is a key component to what we call the Return on Shopper Investment (ROSI): when a consumer recalls a brand in a personal or social moment. These brand pavilions are enjoyable and sharable – we expect that ROSI will be high.

Return on Shopper Investment

Experiences like MediaMarkt are refreshing and invigorating. Even during uncertain times, progressive retailers are making moves. What might make it even more exciting? Consider a digital interactive to introduce shoppers to how to navigate the Tech Village and to allow brands to advertise their message in a single decompression zone before physically traversing the store. With a massive amount of product, it’s overwhelming to take in – digital interactives help shoppers focus the experience and build anticipation for what is there to discover might further elevate the experience. There is boundless opportunity to get the shopper even more excited to experience what is available in the Tech Village.

Congratulations to MediaMarkt on executing a beautiful space in Rotterdam.  You’re doing the right thing for your brands.  A little more tech in the Tech Village and your shoppers won’t be able to get enough.