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Ulmart and the Benefits of Hybrid Shopping
Published: August 14, 2013 (Issue # 1773)
If you are ever in need of a new computer at 1 a.m. or if the tea kettle breaks down before breakfast, Ulmart is the only place to head. Open 24 hours a day, the electronics superstore is a one-stop destination for anything that runs off electricity.
Ulmart, which is one of the largest electronics retailers in Russia, opened its 30th cyber market in the north of St. Petersburg on Aug. 17. The new store, which measures a whopping 6,000 square meters, is the first that the company built from its own, original plans. Taking less than a year to complete, the store is pushing a new concept in hybrid online/offline shopping.
Unlike most electronic retailers, where row upon row of goods sit displayed on shelves and inside showcases, Ulmart is sleek and ultramodern with the goods sitting in a 4,000 square meter warehouse containing 40,000 different items attached to the selling floor, representing on of the largest selections in the city. The warehouse, for example, contains a choice of over 1,000 laptops alone.
Setting the store apart from the competition even further is the unique way in which the floor space that used to be taken up by product has been divided. The new shop has 65 terminals and is able to serve up to 5,000 customers per day. The sales floor is filled with oversized state-of-the-art touch screens and computer stations. A virtual display case allows customers to view merchandise by simply waving their hands in front of a screen.
The set-up will be familiar to anyone who has ever bought anything online but even for those trying this type of retail for the first time will have no difficulty orienting themselves to the new system with the help of a team of hostesses who are always on hand to help customers.
The store is divided into different zones. In addition to the terminals where customers can browse and choose their purchases, there are different zones for each step of the process that are clearly marked. Once a purchase is made, clients proceed to the payment zone where Ulmart accepts cash and credit cards. Customers who place their orders online are also able to use Yandex.money to complete their purchases.
Customers looking to make a purchase that may be bigger than their current bank balance stretches, a selection of banks is on hand to offer credit. The credit desks are staffed from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. making that impulsive purchase all the more difficult to resist. Credit can even be applied for through the company’s website and purchases either delivered or collected from the main shops or a number of outpost located around the city.
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