Yet another major overhaul may be coming to the world of retail design as today’s technology-driven society finally catches up to the sector. In a cutting edge move, Walmart and Mattel are set to test market their first ever virtual pop-up store in Toronto.
The world’s first ever-virtual store, Homeplus, has made a mark in South Korea with a location in the Seoul subway syatem. Located in Seolleung station, the virtual shopping space is an easy retail solution for a time-short public. Relying on smartphone technology, the flagship development shows images of the store’s goods in a traditional store layout. Instead of lugging the goods home, however, shoppers would log their travel and arrive home in time for their products to be delivered.
“You place an order when you go to work in the morning and can see the items delivered at home when you come home at night,” said a Homeplus spokesperson at the store’s opening.
Now, becoming the second virtual storeowners in Canada after online retailer Well.ca, Walmart and Mattel are set to open Toronto market in Brookfield Place in the PATH.
The pop-up toy store will be open for the prime shopping period in the four weeks leading up to Christmas and will offer shoppers the same shopping experience as their South Korean counterparts. Imagery of the toys – from dollhouses to toy trucks, will be on hand. Shoppers can scan codes via smartphone or manually access them online.
Purchases will be delivered before Christmas.
“We recognize the holidays are a very busy time for Canadians,” said Jeff Tate of Walmart Canada. “The virtual toy store provides us with a new way to serve time-starved customers and is a unique, interactive form of advertising. It also speaks to Walmart providing customers options: we’re ready for our customers when they’re ready for us – whether that means shopping at the virtual store by scanning a QR code, shopping online through Walmart.ca or shopping in our stores.”
While store branding and popularity has helped diminish the impacts of online shopping on the built retail sector, it remains to be seen what effects these pop-up virtual stores will have on retail interior design. While virtual stores still rely on built spaces, the opportunities and monetary benefits to interior designers when designing a wall to hang images is simply not the same as a shop fitout.