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'Clicks and bricks' trick tempts window shoppers

'Retail theatre' or gimmick - you decide

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A posh stationers in London's Covent Garden has unveiled an "interactive shop window" (ISW) which lets window shoppers see what's on offer before going into the store. Described as a "merging of 'clicks and bricks'", this latest shopping gimmick to hit the Bureau stationery shop is a "blend of the on and offline shopping experience".

The ISW broadcasts images onto a shop window. And since the window is also coated with tiny touch-sensitive sensors, it acts as a giant computer screen, letting shoppers browse products by touching the window - as if they were online.

The window also has motion sensors which trigger a speaker to blurb out "Welcome to Bureau, please touch me to begin" to passing customers. Honest, we're not making it up.

Anyhow, the system doesn't go as far an allowing shoppers to purchase anything: they have to walk into the shop for that.

According to those in the know, This is "retail theatre", a way of attracting shoppers to stop at your store and, with any luck, get them to go in and spend some cash.

Said Mark Fitzgibbon, MD of Bureau: "With limited in-store capacity for stock-volume and product ranges, we are very excited about the potential offered by the Interactive Shop Window solution. Further, as piece of retail theatre we are confident it will create a huge buzz amongst existing customers and will help attract many new ones.

"However, beyond just a gimmick, we see the ISW as a truly innovative marketing channel to exploit and we are confident it will increase sales, footfall and enhance our reputation as a cutting-edge and sophisticated retailer."

But will ISW stand up to the rigours of everyday street life - such as drunks trying to pee up the window or some vandal chucking a dustbin through the glass? A spokeswoman says: "It's a problem all retailers have." ®

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