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ShopWithMe Creates Experiential Smart Stores to Re Engage Shoppers

While online and mobile e-commerce has gained much of the attention of e-shoppers, physical retail stores will have to become more innovative and connected to consumers. Taking on the challenge of fusing both the online and offline experiences in the most unconventional way, is the WithMe company.

Beginning this 2015 holiday season, ShopWithMe, an interactive smart store, will feature collections from both TOMS Shoes and Raven + Lily in the Chicago market. ShopWithMe offers the world’s first smart, interactive in-store experience.

"While the ShopWithMe fixtures and store experience is smart, it is also eliminating the traditional friction in brick-and-mortar retail," says William Reid, VP of Payment of WithMe, who was a former Director of Innovation at Paypal before joining the company, in a news release. "My favorite part of the store is the express checkout. If the shopper downloads our mobile app they can actually find a product they want in the store and literally walk out the door and we charge them as they leave. No more checkout lines."

By combining the physical nuances of a traditional retail store, smart fixtures and a futuristic changing room with interactive display mirrors are used to simulate a seamless and convenient shopping environment for consumers.

In a July 2015 LTP interview with Gary Kearns, Group Executive, Information Services for MasterCard Advisors, we discussed some of the challenges faced by the retail and commercial real estate industry. Below is an excerpt from the interview, addressing pop-up stores and investing in seasonal locations. (Click here to read the full LTP interview: Using Data-Driven Innovation to Evaluate Real Estate Locations for Retail, July 2, 2015)

LTP: Does MasterCard Retail Location Insights have solutions for seasonal real estate investments for pop-up stores as well?

Gary Kearns: Our stability score and historical view are a great way to gain insight into seasonal opportunities. For a pop-up Halloween costume store, you would want to look at scoring for months leading up to and including October specifically. A block that had the highest traffic in summer months due to an influx of travelers might not be the most advantageous.

Commercial real estate, especially pertaining to retail stores, does not have a one-size-fits all solution. In an expensive metropolitan city like Chicago, Los Angeles or New York, it is still challenging to gauge how successful a store will be, even with big data analytics from surrounding competitors. In my own New York neighborhood, a funeral home was on the market and at the time I said, Anyone who puts a store there, has dug their own grave for a business. Three months later, a newly open Starbucks location has me eating my words, and drinking a cappuccino. But then again not every business has a distinguished reputation like Starbucks.

Merchants on main street face the challenges of inventory fluctuation, changing out marketing and displays, loss prevention, physically recovering the appearance of a store and the most crucial touchpoint in converting a window shopper into a paying customer, the checkout experience. ShopWithMe smart stores offer an affordable brick and mortar solution to these challenges. All smart stores are designed to be mass-produced for easy deployment around the world. Merchants can replicate their brand identity with a customizable, experiential shopping environment anywhere.

There is indisputable value in having an online presence for e-shoppers, but there is also value in having physical retail stores. ShopWithMe smart stores allow in-store associates to redirect their attention to improving the customer experience. Mitigating the friction of waiting in line to pay by improving the path to purchase with one-touch checkout will be a pleasant feature for the mobile payment community. ShopWithMe plans to bring its stores to Chicago, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston and Miami in the coming months and will begin shipping stores globally in January 2016.

About ShopWithMe:

Founded in March 2011 as OrderWithMe, WithMe creates beautifully simple tools for retail, offering three primary solutions for enterprise and consumer markets, including WithMe Business, WithMe Financial, and ShopWithMe Retail. ShopWithMe is an entirely new experience for today's consumer, enabling shoppers to touch physical goods in-store while browsing and easily ordering related or out of stock products that get shipped to their home. Learn more by visiting shopwithme.com.

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