Here in Paris, a chain of haut de gamme, luxury technology retail stores is opening up this June. The retail chain LICK, which bought up 17 The Phone Shop stores after the company ceased activity in France, provides a curated store where brands can display approved products, which LICK salesmen master in order to educate customers.
For me, LICK is like a White-Label Apple Store: you don’t have to live inside the Apple ecosystem to be sold there, and you get the same level of customer experience as you would at the Apple Store.
With Apple’s recent $3 Billion acquisition of Beats Music, there’s no question that hardware is still a big deal. I disagree with Fred Destin’s recent statement that hardware-focused companies will be eaten by software-focused companies – hardware will always own the relationship with the customer, and software will always be processed and visualized by hardware. How hardware maintains this leverage is up in the air, but I don’t see hardware becoming a commodity anytime soon.
LICK will be opening its doors on June 5th in La Defense, and LICK’s director Gregory Coillot will be speaking at the Connected Conference on June 18th on our panel about retail’s role in the connected world.