Will the shop become the media?

The pandemic has probably taught us many things, but one thing is for sure: the majority of the population is looking forward to going shopping again, in total freedom, with family, friends and preferably coupled with a terrace or a visit to the bistro. We get energy from this “experience economy”. When, for a few years, people were still proclaiming that shops would disappear and sales via the Internet would only increase, today we know that the shop, whether in the city centre or beyond, does indeed have a future. But what future? 

At the end of 2007, when launching ThisPlays2, the founders were looking for a good slogan. They quickly came up with the phrase “Your store. Your Media.” Neatly with dots after each 2 words to reinforce their conviction. The slogan could be interpreted in 2 ways. Your shop, where the ThisPlays2 team helps you to use the right (multi)media to achieve sales and communication goals. But also, the belief that the shop would not only be a place where products are sold but will also functions as a real media channel.  

The physical shop becomes media. 

Doug Stephens, Canadian “futurologist” and founder of retail consulting firm Retail Prophet confirmed this conviction a few years ago. The shop, a place where you can buy products, is becoming more and more a marketing channel. After all, today’s media channels (television, social media, the Internet, etc.) are also more and more the ‘shop’, or at least they lead to more online interactions. It is easy to buy products via a tweet, a Facebook or Instagram message, a video or online TV programme. And every day, smart integrations and new applications allow us to buy things in a smooth way. Media is no longer just a convenient message carrier but has become an instant distribution channel. So gradually, the primary role of the shop will not just be to sell products, but also to provide the most powerful and emotionally stimulating experience possible, to take brand affinity, trust, and loyalty to the next level. 

The dual function of the shop: fun and run shopping. 

Of course, products are still sold through the shop. In most cases, consumers want to take their purchases with them immediately, so-called “run shopping”. But if this is not possible directly, smart digital screens can easily show the full range. Screen communication is the most powerful way of linking the story to the products in the shop. Via product screens, video walls or collage screens in different compositions, you show as a retailer that you know the online and offline world of your customers, you stimulate interaction with employees, and you build an emotional bond with your “fun-shopping” visiting customers. 

Bruno Hancké
Managing Director ThisPlays2