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Brief Published: 7 Nov 2013

Thomson’s Tech-Tastic Travel Store


UK travel agent Thomson has opened the first of its ‘next-generation stores’ in Bluewater shopping mall, south-east England, in a bid to revitalise its high-street presence and unite its multi-channel offer.

Created by London design agency 20.20, the new format sees traditional travel brochures replaced with interactive digital displays, while a supersized shop front boasts a large video wall streaming enticing holiday destination feeds. High-definition screens in-store deliver real-time weather information and comments from travellers on social media and review sites.

Distinct zones such as a space designed to look like a swimming pool area offer shoppers a chance to browse holidays at their leisure – either on their own mobile devices (the store offers free wi-fi) or using the in-store tablets. Large booths where customers can speak to a dedicated specialist have tailored content projected onto the walls – a concept also in play at Apple’s Genius bars, Dixon’s Tech-Savvy Airport Concept Shop, and new Hong Kong mobile phone store One2Free.

Brochures are stocked for those who request them, but customers are encouraged to take a postcard instead, with website details for specific destinations.

Thomson believes the new store offers the best of both worlds: bricks-and-mortar service with the convenience and immediacy of online shopping. It hopes this will ensure the 96% of UK consumers who now book their air travel online (Kantar Media, 2012) won’t bypass the agent and its additional holiday products and services altogether.

For more on digitally enhanced stores, see Tech-Fuelled Retail Spaces (Redefine Industry Trend), In-Store Interactive and The Omni-Channel Store Space.