May 21, 2019 9:08:00 AM

Retail touchscreen

The death of traditional shopping, known in most circles as the retail apocalypse, has been the center of brick-and-mortar retail store conversation in recent years. Luckily, the industry is innovating itself to compete with e-commerce giants like Amazon. Brick-and-mortar retailers are coming up with new and creative ways to engage customers and make shopping more entertaining.

The store-within-a-store model is a form of experiential retail focusing on digital kiosks and pop-up shops that give customers purposeful experiences that they can’t get on the internet. While the store-in-a-store idea has existed for more than a decade, this model is still thriving as an effective system for retailers and brands. Have you thought about implementing this model, but aren’t entirely sure what it means or what the tangible benefits are? Here’s why creating this immersive environment may be great for your business.



Simply put, store-in-a-store is when a retail business owner functions as a host and authorizes one or more brands to independently operate within their premises. While many brands choose to work with businesses like Target, JCPenney, Nordstrom, and other large retailers, this model is not just available to big-box stores.

Both parties, retailer and brand, grow their market and increase revenue through this mutually beneficial partnership. Department stores use the store-in-a-store model frequently, and are being pressed to engage younger shoppers, amplify the customer experience, and use their space in more effective ways.





sephora-450966From grocery stores and electronics to clothing retailers, a store-in-a-store model can work well in various retail sub-sectors. For example, in more than 350 Kroger locations, Murray’s Cheese stores can be found. This model is effective with customers because it gives them a more immersive experience in a familiar retail setting. Whether it’s a special event, promotion, or new product launch, a successful store-in-a-store model uses these activities to create virality and increase offerings for shoppers. This system can also educate customers and create a higher quality “try and buy” experience.

While a store-in-a-store can be incredibly beneficial to your business, the process of setting one up isn’t easy. First, retailers and brands must come to an agreement concerning their partnership, and then pick a location that they can both agree on. Both parties need to make sure that each other’s markets overlap each other, even if just a little. As a toy store retailer, for example, you likely wouldn’t partner with an automotive store.

Secondly, taking advantage of the space in every way possible is key, and one of the best ways to do so is using technology to amplify the customer experience and collect real-time data. Tablets, digital kiosks, and digital signs are used by successful store-in-a-stores to display customized content. Tracking data obtained through interactive displays helps business owners improve their customers’ experience, marketing practices and other brick-and-mortar locations if they have them.

Why are interactive retail displays successful? Instead of a boring, linear retail experience, which has been the norm for some time, digital interaction offers entertainment and diversion. Create an exciting shopping experience that customers want share with their friends, family, and coworkers.

Interactive displays also clear the way for omnichannel sales (integrates the different methods of shopping available to consumers) as the customer browses merchandise, makes a digital payment, all while on the retailer’s virtual location. These immersive store experiences turn window shoppers into customers and share an appealing brand experience with customers in a clear and exciting way.

Some retailers strengthen their customer experience by allowing people to browse their e-commerce site in store, which gives them a chance to glance at products you might not have on site. Shoe retailer TOMS, for instance, is taking immersive brand experience one step further by using virtual reality in 100 of its stores to give shoppers a unique look at their brand.







The store-in-a-store model gives brands the ability to determine product pricing, develop marketing plans on their own, and manage their own inventory. It even assists in saving money by getting rid of some of the overhead it costs to manage an independent store. Foot traffic also increases for brands if the retailer is already generating traffic.

In the same way, the host retailer can benefit from the traffic created by their partner without having to manage their inventory or staff. The store-in-a-store model is a good way to reinvigorate an old, static brand for some retailers. A brand often helps the host retailer through social media campaigns that take place before they set up. Finally, both partners can benefit from their juxtaposition in the form of complementary sales and impulse buys. Imagine visiting your favorite bookstore with a coffee shop inside (like Barnes & Noble does with Starbucks) – what are the chances of you buying a beverage?




Retailers are coming up with creative ways to make shopping a more entertaining experience. There are more than a few success stories featuring the store-in-a-store model.


One store that was severely affected by the retail apocalypse was Macy’s. After losing 15% of their store base, they transitioned away from traditional brick-and-mortar retail stores to in-store experiences that would engage old and new customers. Macy’s took advantage of the coffee shopping trend and partnered with Starbucks, to turn their store into more of a community hub that customers would enjoy. To grab the attention of hungry customers, Macy’s is also experimenting with including restaurants in their stores.


The cosmetic retailer Sephora has been managing in-store kiosks in JCPenney stores across the United States since 2006. What started out as a small-scale project in a few stores has exploded to more than half of the stores JCPenney operates. This partnership gave Sephora a space to connect with fresh, smaller markets that they previously hadn’t served, while assisting JCPenney in amplifying their stamp on beauty products.


While the retail apocalypse has affected many big-box retailers, Best Buy persists in the age of online shopping. The store-in-a-store model was adopted by Best Buy when they partnered with Samsung for what was called the “Samsung Experience.” The partnership was so successful that Best Buy brought on Sony the following year.

Best Buy even embraced competitor Amazon and displayed two in-store kiosks for Google Home and Amazon Echo, all part of their plan to take advantage of the popularity of smart devices. Instead of simply fostering sales for these devices, the digital kiosks were used to teach customers how to pair the devices to other Best Buy items, such as smart televisions.




Now that you know what a store-in-a-store is and how it can benefit your business, what’s next? It’s time to create an exciting customer experience for your clients with an abundance of digital interaction.

PTG keeps on top of the latest commercial interactive products that will delight your customers and deliver an engaging experience. Store-in-a-store interactives are fun, informative, and a great sales tool. Our team creates, installs, and services immersive store environments that build customer engagement for your retail space.

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