Posted on by Jolien Teuwen

The store of the future: digital and human!

During Gondola Day, Nele Bruers, CEO of DOBIT, and Tim Gielen, co-founder of Wave of Engagement, shared their vision of the store of the future and three aspects you can use to make a difference.


Couldn't be there or missed the presentation? Discover the key take-aways below;-).

1. Build a community


The physical shop is no longer a place where you just buy products. It is increasingly a meeting place where you bring people together and where both customer experience and service excellence are key. In short: a shop is a place where like-minded people find each other and where the 'human aspect' remains incredibly important.

Brewmine Tap, a city brewery in Hasselt is a great example of a community-based retail concept. "This concept was born out of the need of home brewers who wanted a place to brew and socialise," Tim said. "Brewmine Tab has evolved into a unique place where beer lovers come together, brew, and enjoy locally brewed beer."

Brewmine Tab - retail community

2. Commit to a multisensory experience


The physical shop is also the ideal place to stimulate all the senses. The integration of scent, light, sound, image,... ensures that you completely immerse the customer in your brand identity.

The new Lincherie shop by Van de Velde illustrates how technology contributes to this multisensory shopping experience. "By combining the right scent, thoughtfully chosen music, custom lighting and the right visuals, the retailer offers a multisensory experience that totally fits the brand identity and that the online story will never be able to match," said Nele. "Of course, other aspects are also important, from the right choice of materials to the use of colour, the dress code of the shop staff to the shapes of the furniture. Every detail counts and makes you take the shopping experience to the next level."

Multisensory experience Van de Velde Lincherie

3. Strengthen personalised service


A third aspect that makes you different from the physical shop is offering a (hyper) personalised service to your customer. Again, technology can support your shop assistants to help customers even better.

This is how Xandres uses technology to free up shop assistants’ time, allowing them to focus 100% on the customer. In the app, the customer composes a list of clothing they would like to try on, which is brought to the fitting room by an assigned stock assistant. Also, the shop assistant has a hand scanner that allows her to immediately check the shop stock, and the in-store kiosk at the fitting rooms is a particularly powerful tool for ordering items immediately if they are out of stock in the shop. "Thanks to the integration of technology, Xandres manages to free up one hour per day, per shop assistant!"

Instore webshop and Xandres App

4. Bring your brand promise to life


Storytelling - telling your unique story - is definitely a fourth aspect to stand out in the retail landscape. Who are you as a brand? What is it you stand for? And: how do you translate this story to your physical shop?


Lucien, D'Ieteren's bicycle shop, is a great example of a shop concept that places strong emphasis on storytelling, brand experience and customer interaction. "At Lucien’s, it's all about taking care of cyclists," Tim said. "It's a story for cyclists, by cyclists. There is a service desk for minor repairs, a test track, and even a DIY repair corner. It's about really engaging the customer and addressing their concerns, resulting in a unique and successful shop concept."

Storytelling retail Lucien

5. Amaze your customers


"The shop of the future should be an exciting and surprising place," Nele concludes. "Create an 'exciting place' where you amaze, surprise and entertain your customer. A great example of this is the large LED wall in Waasland Shopping. With 3D content and interactive games, the customer gets a unique experience they won't soon forget."



The physical shop isn’t dead! On the contrary ;-). The physical shop offers incredible opportunities to make a difference today and bind customers to your brand.

Embracing technology and maintaining human interaction are the success factors for the shop of the future!


Wondering how we can help you create the shop of the future?
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Jolien Teuwen
Jolien is a bit curious and, as Marketing and Communication Specialist, is the first to know about everything that goes on within DOBIT. She enjoys diving behind her computer to share the experiences and knowledge of her colleagues with others. Her goal: to inspire, inform and engage retailers and companies.