The successful launch of Maplin’s flagship ‘Store of the Future’ in The Beehive Centre, Cambridge, has paved the way for a further 20 new store formats being set to open before the end of the year as well as the ‘smart life’ proposition being rolled into 130 stores.

The technology specialist retailer, which currently has 217 stores across the UK, commissioned SignStix® – the award-winning digital engagement platform – to deliver a number of interactive, digital experiences for the Beehive Centre store last year, which was the first store to trial the new ‘Store of the Future’ concept.

The initiative was part of a wider re-branding strategy undertaken by Maplin, who were seeking to attract new customers without neglecting their existing customer base, and to reinvent the store environment as a place for customers to discover products and be inspired.

Designed to take customers on a guided journey throughout the store, the ‘Store of the Future’ concept capitalises on Maplin’s strength of specialist knowledge by using technology to engage and converse with customers in new ways.

Since opening the first new format in November 2016, trading across the ‘Stores of the Future’ has outperformed the rest of the chain, with Smart Home sales increasing by more than double. In the first 4 months alone, Cambridge Beehive saw over 20,000 digital interactions with the new kit, and customer dwell time has doubled as a result of shoppers spending longer interacting with the Smart Life technology and getting advice from store staff.

Speaking to Essential Retail about the success of the Beehive store, Siobhan Fitzpatrick, Marketing and Multichannel Director for Maplin, said:

“It’s gone exceptionally well. We are seeing significant like-for-like growth since we relaunched the stores. The customer’s responses have been fantastic; over 70% of people who have walked through the doors of Cambridge said this store is significantly better – not just better, but significantly better – and over 90% of people think the store is a massive step forward.”

The Beehive store was devoted to the idea of embracing a ‘Smart Life.’ Featuring a new layout and a variety of digital and multi-touch experiences, the store helps customers to learn and understand how specific functions in the home, such as lighting, heating and power, can communicate with each other using technology to create a fully integrated and connected smart home.

SignStix® worked closely with Maplin to ensure that their vision was brought to reality by developing a number of customer-facing digital touchpoints, including an interactive Playtable experience.

Developed to deliver information around various smart products in a more convenient way, the Playtable presents customers with related products, based on their selection. This experience helps customers to learn and understand the value of smart products.

Commenting on the rollout, Nick Fearnley, SignStix® CEO, said: “It’s been highly rewarding to work closely with the Maplin team, who have done a fantastic job in creating a really engaging environment for in-store customers. We’ve enjoyed being a part of their journey, right from the original brief through to helping make their digital visions a reality.

“By working collaboratively with Maplin, we have successfully delivered a solution that aligns perfectly with their needs. The project was an invaluable opportunity to push the boundaries of what can be achieved using SignStix®, and it paved the way for major innovation within the platform itself. New features, such as our Javascript Extension, present a wealth of opportunities for all clients, and will revolutionise the ways in which digital can be used in-store.

Fearnley concluded: “We are looking forward to continuing this very special relationship with Maplin, and to seeing the Smart Life initiative taking place across the whole of the UK.”

Ollie McLellan, Maplin’s Head of Digital Quality said: “It’s been a pleasure working with SignStix® who have helped us deliver some really amazing digital experiences into our new store format.

“SignStix® have been a fantastic team to work with, and we massively appreciate their flexibility and help in bringing features forward.”

About SignStix®

SignStix® is a multi-award-winning digital engagement platform, designed to deliver engaging content to any digital display or device. Built from the ground up, it is a user-friendly web-based tool for creating, managing and deploying digital content, video and interactive applications with ease. It is used by some of the world’s leading retail brands, corporates and Fortune 500 companies to build innovative digital experiences and attention-grabbing displays.