BIO’s CSO talks high street innovation to The Bookseller

Published 2 Min Read

Bookshops are having a renaissance on the high street with the recent opening of several new innovative and design-led stores.  Justin Small comments on the return of the high street and its importance in the digital age in an article for the book trade’s industry magazine. 

The article in The Bookseller reports on several new stores including Libreria in the East End of London, Chapter One Books in Manchester’s Northern Quarter and a new Waterstones on London’s Tottenham Court Road designed to have ‘retro appeal’.  While some of these stores shy away from using technology to aid the experience – Libreria’s founders call it a ‘refuge from digital’ – others are driving digital innovation.  Foyles’ new store in Birmingham features digital display screens showcasing books and ‘author pods’ so that customers can listen to audiobooks. 

At BIO, we help companies create better in-store experiences by connecting the physical to digital.  Justin Small, our Chief Strategy Officer, says "the high street is back". 

Shops have got to sell brand experiences, as it is these physical high street experiences that will be the key to driving online sales Justin Small – Chief Strategy Officer, The BIO Agency

"Shops have got to sell brand experiences, as it is these physical high street experiences that will be the key to driving online sales", he told The Bookseller.  “Amazon has realised it needs to compete not just on price or delivery, but on shopping experience.  Browsing is not something the internet does very well, and because at its most basic level shopping is leisure, the high street retailer has a competitive advantage over the online-only retailer here.  Five years ago everyone was worried the high street was going to close, but now everyone from travel agents, to estate agents, to Burberry to Boots are investing in their physical retail experience.  Physical still has a long way to go in integrating digital and developing self-serve, but this renaissance of the high street feels like a trend that could gather pace.”

Take a look at this article for The Economist’s 1843 magazine for a multitude of ideas on designing the high street bookshop of the future, from vending walls accessible from the street to your own printing and bookbinding aided by floating robots. 

The BIO Agency has worked with Hachette to recreate the magic of the bookshop online.

For more, read our white paper The return of the high street: how technology has created a new future for retailers.


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