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.