One of the things I love most about working in the technology industry is being given specific challenges by a retailer; an obstacle or objective unique to their business, for which they require support to overcome or exceed.
That’s why I was very excited when iVend Retail and our partner TRC were selected by the iconic Abbey Road Studios, one of the most respected working studios in London, to provide an integrated retail technology solution for its first ever retail store. As the birthplace of albums such as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Radiohead’s The Bends, and, of course The Beatles’ Abbey Road, the studio’s brand has a huge heritage.
This presented great opportunities for driving additional revenue – 400,000 people visit Abbey Road each year just to have their photograph taken on the zebra crossing outside – but it also posed a risk to its brand identity.
Music fans are known for their passion, and therefore any commercial endeavors need to enhance, rather than commoditize the visitor experience. Speaking at RBTE in London this month, Abbey Road Studios’ managing director, Isabel Garvey, reminded the audience that tourists will travel thousands of miles to pay homage, and their encounter must live up to their expectations.
Abbey Road Studios had already launched an online shop with a limited product range, but wanted to develop this into an omnichannel offering with a credible bricks-and-mortar store befitting the company’s history.
One key factor of omnichannel success is being able to shape customer experiences through the data trail they generate. Unlike most other venues, around 90% of Abbey Road Studios’ shopper base comprises of tourists, and therefore repeat business offline is unlikely. Even with the ability to collect data, it’s hard to get to know new customers.
What the new store can do, though, is use technology – a retail management solution from TRC Solutions, and iVend Retail’s integrated omnichannel retail system – to create seamless experiences that maximize consumer spend among that tourist base.
Even after just four months, the studios’ investment in physical commerce is paying off. Average transaction values are up to £18-20 at its store, and looking ahead, Abbey Road also plans to add mobile POS technology, which will allow staff to take payments from a tablet device anywhere in the store. In addition to making customer service more flexible, putting online information and a single view of stock literally into the hands of store associates will enable up-selling and cross-selling opportunities.
So by sourcing omnichannel technology with the capabilities to blend online and offline experiences, Abbey Road Studios has given its tourist offering a modern, commercial twist. One that will give fans a chance to take home a reminder of their brush with music history, and which will drive funds that enable the studio to invest in an even more impressive visitor experience.