Beyond bricks and mortar: the rise of in-store digital technology

Over recent years there has been an increase in the use of digital technology in shops as retailers look to enhance the in-store experience whilst more effectively joining-up their online and offline offerings.

A few interesting examples are:

  • Argos has a number of ‘digital stores’ nationwide in which it has dispensed with its traditional laminated catalogues and paper forms in favour of tablets allowing for browsing and instant ordering
  • Some retailers have installed in-store hubs where customers can browse and order online for collection in-store at a later date or have the product delivered to their home
  • A number of  luxury fashion retailers have installed iPads in fitting rooms so that customers can take photographs of themselves in the clothes they are trying on (aka “selfies”)  and others have virtual fitting rooms allowing customers to see what clothes will look like on them without actually having to put them on
  • Concept stores, which focus on customer experience over sales, are becoming more prevalent. These stores often rely heavily on digital technology such as digital signage and virtual catwalks to achieve the desired effects. adidas have launched their own concept store initiative called Homecourt and now have a concept store at Bluewater in Kent. The design of the store is inspired by a sports arena and has a football focus. It also includes interactive touchscreens allowing customers to browse online.

What to consider before installing in-store digital technology

Before retailers introduce this kind of technology into stores, there are a few matters which should be considered first:

  • Landlord consent may be needed for any alterations and additions depending on their nature and the work involved
  • Planning consents and building regulations approvals may be required
  • Some modern leases, particularly those in shopping centres, may contain restrictions regarding Wi-Fi use. These can include: rules as to which channels can be used, the level of encryption required or they may stipulate the adoption of measures to minimise interference
  • In shopping centres or retail parks there may be a tenant’s handbook covering the installation of digital technology. Sometimes these are purely guidelines but some leases contain binding obligations for tenants to comply with any such handbook.


Author: Rachel Priday, Senior Solicitor, Real Estate


This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.

Naveen Gupta


I am a partner within the Real Estate team, based in Manchester. I act for retail and leisure operators, large corporate occupiers, developers, charities and institutional clients with large property portfolios.