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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : December 11, 2008

CompUSA brings Internet in-store

A retailer in Florida is bringing the Internet to its bricks and mortar store. Miami-based CompUSA is providing customers with access to information at the point of sale to help them make better informed buying decisions.

by Helen Leggatt

Consumers spend a lot of time and effort researching products online before making a purchase decision. Some go on to make a purchase online, but many head to the stores armed with product knowledge and reviews gathered from the Internet.

Deloitte's 2008 Consumer Behavior survey found that for expensive items such as furniture, white goods and appliances, consumers prefer to compare prices online, and then go to a store to see the product and complete the transaction.

CompuUSA wants consumers to be able to carry out that research in-store. Every single desktop, laptop, LCD monitor and flat-panel television in CompUSA's Dadeland store is connected to a live computer and the Internet - a total of almost 300 computer-connected screens in each store. Consumers are encouraged to use the very product they are interested in buying to search for, or view, product and technical information.

When not in use, screens flash promotional messages which, says Gilbert Fiorentino, Chief Executive of Systemax Inc.'s Technology Products business, CompUSA eventually intends to monetize by selling advertising.

Additional terminals are provided in the store's aisles which customers can use to search for add-on products.

Dubbed Retail 2.0, this store is the first of its kind, said Fiorentino, and plans are already in place to include more features such as a web-cam kiosk for real-time troubleshooting and WiFi.

"No one has done this yet," said Fiorentino. "We want to be the most progressive and forward-thinking retailer in the world."

Tags: advertising, bricks and mortar, CompUSA, in-store, Internet, purchase decision, Retail 2.0

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