A question which often arises is whether a shopping street like the Beethovenstraat still has a right to exist. And what will shopping look like in the future?
More and more people are now shopping online. From clothing right through to their daily groceries. Does this mean the shopping street, as we know it, will now cease to exist? The answer to this question is both yes and no. Research has shown that young people in particular actually prefer a physical shop, so there is definitely hope for the future. They want to visit a shop to feel inspired, to see or feel the actual products or for personal advice. The purchasing process is the next step. Whether this happens via the shop or the internet isn’t all that important to them. But the service they receive certainly is.
Shops are now increasingly becoming a showroom for products, where it appears to be more about the experience than the quantity of products. Showing potential customers a sofa will include an opportunity to try it out for themselves and subsequently see which colours and fabrics it’s available in via a screen. This can then be followed by an instant order placement, or the link can be sent on to the customer. So shops and the internet are therefore increasingly coming together and shops are now frequently turning into a place where you can enjoy a cup of coffee or a drink and where you’ll receive a personal service you certainly wouldn’t get via the internet.
Many elements of the shopping experience could be made easier with the use of technology. Why should you constantly have to keep going back into a changing room, whilst all your measurements have been stored and you could instantly be handed all the right sizes? Why should you constantly have to give out your address details, whilst you have already been recognised by a robot who knows exactly when you’re home and when you want to receive your items?
The Beethovenstraat has been turned into a Shopping Street Innovation Lab over the past two years, where various different innovations have been tested and regular experiments are still being conducted today into how we can make shopping even more fun and easier in the future.