The store as an amusement park: an elaborate experience strategy is how Media Markt will counter its online competitors. The new pilot stores in Wilrijk and Eindhoven give shoppers an overview of all the latest electronic gadgets.
A new shopping experience
Parent company Metro Group recently decided to split its company into two divisions, one focused on food (Metro) and one on consumer electronics (Ceconomy), including Media Markt. The move was designed to help spur growth in each newly-formed division, giving them the means, opportunity and freedom to tackle their own challenges. Part of that new strategy is also how Media Markt (now part of Ceconomy) will take care of electronics for the Makro stores (which are now part of Metro).
This new store formula, now trialed in Wilrijk and Eindhoven, is an example of how Media Markt will move forward: robot Pepper will welcome visitors and transport orders from the store to the cash register. Customers can game with the newest gear, get their hear styled and taste a cappuccino, made by a real barista. A DJ will provide background music for the shopping experience and a chef will use the latest kitchen appliances, which can be instantly bought at the store, to create sensory delights. There is even a chocolate printer and some baffling virtual reality applications.
You can personalize your fridge or washing machine with a colourful print and even play with drones. The store also houses the latest technological gadgets, like the amazingly thin (2.57 mm) LG Signature W OLED television or an intelligent fridge with touch panel. Young (local and international) start-ups can also showcase their ideas in innovation pavilions.
The new type of Media Markt is a playground for electronics lovers and should be able to withstand the online competition and draw in younger customers. In this digital age, physical stores need to have compelling reasons for customers to make the trip to the store.
Can such an innovative store formula be reconciled with the chain’s lowest price guarantee? MediaMarkt-Saturn Belux CEO Sven Degezelle believes so. “The lowest price is no longer a differentiating factor nowadays, but it is still a prerequisite. Our software scans our competitors’ prices and we adjust ours every morning, in every store.”
“A complementary tale”
The retailer is also still paying attention to its online experience: the customer can virtually walk through the store or pick up an order, placed through his smartphone, within thirty minutes. “Media Markt believes in the combined future of a physical store and online shopping. The store in Wilrijk is the perfect answer to all of the contemporary customer’s needs and demands. Every channel strengthens the other, a complementary tale.”
Wilrijk and Eindhoven are pilot stores, which means that it is not certain these formulas will actually turn up in other stores. The new visual style is here to stay though: a more toned down visual experience, with more white than red and a grey vinyl floor should be present in every store by 2020. First up is the store in the Century Center in Antwerp.
The chain will also add about fifteen 1,000 sqm stores across Belgium in the next few years, all located in smaller cities.