Back at the tail-end of January HMV on Grafton Street brought down its shutter permanently resulting in the loss of many jobs and a barrage of negative press.  But last week the vacant store was brought back to life thanks to Virtual Shopfronts who have injected new life and positivity back into the vacant retail unit and its’ high street.

With the ongoing recession claiming another high profile retailer here in the Republic of Ireland, HMV, located on one of the worlds most famous shopping streets – Grafton Street, became another casualty. When the store finally closed for good back in January another large hole appeared in one of the worlds most iconic shopping high street destinations. Few believed that HMV on Grafton Street would actually close while others believed it was inevitable due to the growing pace of developing technology. However the closure of one of HMV’s flagship stores brought more negativity to the retail sector and of course to existing neighbouring retailers and the area in general.

Last week however, Virtual Shopfronts were delighted to unveil their latest project which has transformed this vacant retail unit and brought positivity back to the the unit itself and the high street.

Speaking at the installation of the Virtual Shopfront last week, creator of this unique and innovative concept, Nicholas Polley was very proud that Virtual Shopfronts were consulted and commissioned to address the deteriorating shopfront. “It certainly is our most high profile project to date. We fully understand the history behind the closure of this iconic store and the negativity that came with it. However as you can see for yourself, our Virtual Shopfront has transformed the look of the vacant shopfront and it now makes a huge difference to the streetscape. Virtual Shopfronts are very proud to have been consulted to address the problem. Along with the export of our Virtual Shopfronts abroad, this is another milestone for Virtual Shopfronts.”

Whilst some critics may argue that these window graphics or window vinyls simply mask the underlying issue, there is no argument against that fact that Virtual Shopfronts bring nothing but positivity to a problem, that if left unaddressed, can cause more harm to the neighbouring surviving retailers. “We have had nothing but positive feedback on this latest Virtual Shopfront project and it is certainly grabbing attention” continued Nicholas. ” This in itself is a further positive angle as it will help to generate more interest from potential tenants for the space. We are confident that our Virtual Shopfront won’t be up for long as it will help to attract a new tenant, but while it is, it’s sure making a difference.”

The Virtual Shopfront used in HMV Grafton Street was chosen from our vStock library. If you have a vacant retail unit that you are looking to rent and you want to grab  attention and help inspire a new tenant to take it over, then contact Virtual Shopfronts today.

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Last Friday saw the installation of our Virtual Shopfront Shoe Store on Ireland’s most famous shopping street…Grafton Street. And it is one with a twist! Clever product placement and QR Code technology are grabbing the attention of people and allowing them to scan the shoes that are on display to retrieve information about them and where they can be purchased.

Over the past 9months Virtual Shopfronts have become the solution to the ever increasing problem of vacant retail units and we are delighted to illustrate their benefits on Ireland’s most famous high street. Not only has our Virtual Shopfront at #37 Grafton Street (right opposite HMV) made a positive impact on the high street it allows passersby to interact with it and get real information on the shoes being displayed. Through it’s look and interactivity footfall to the once invisible vacant retail unit is increasing.

“We wanted this vacant retail unit to be the first Virtual Shopping experience for people. They can interact with the products on display within the Virtual Shopfront by simply scanning the associated QR Codes. Virtual Shopfronts are continually evolving and this is just another step forward for the concept. It is a unique way for brands to have a presence on high streets and in shopping malls without the expense of renting a unit.  We also see the Virtual Shopfronts as an ideal platform for launching new products and brands. Up until now large brands have been reluctant to advertise in vacant spaces because it can sometimes give out the wrong message, however through subtle product placement and interactivity within our Virtual Shopfronts this barrier is removed. The last thing that Virtual Shopfronts want is to compromise the integrity of our concept. First and foremost the Virtual Shopfront must grab the attention. We do not want to blatantly cover vacant retail windows with branding, that’s not what this step forward is about. We want this to be a win win for all parties involved and it is” Nicholas Polley

For this first Virtual Shopping experience Virtual Shopfronts approached a local Irish independent shoe designer. Tutty’s Handmade Shoes who are over 65 years old were an ideal candidate.  Located in Project 51 around the corner on South William Street they were intrigued and excited about the opportunity.  ‘Old World craft meets New Age technology’ is how it is being described and now Tutty’s have a presence on Ireland’s busiest high street, something that in reality would be prohibitive. Now people on Grafton Street passing by the Virtual Shopfront can receive information on a number of their shoe designs by simply scanning the QR Codes.

“It is very exciting times for us right now and there is huge potential and scope to this approach. It feeds in perfectly to our overall objectives and we are very confident it will attract the attention of the large brands” NP

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We have just been commissioned to install a Virtual Shopfront in this unit on Grafton Street.

The existing facade is doing nothing for the unit or for the streetscape so we will be doing something about that! Make sure to keep an eye out for it and what type of Virtual Shopfront we install! All will be revealed very soon.

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