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  Posted by: electime      4th March 2020

A Norwich based company has played a key role in a unique project designed to breathe life back into the UK’s ailing High Street.

Sook, based in Cambridge’s Grafton Centre, is a brand-new concept, planned to be rolled out across the country. It creates the interface between digital and physical instore customer experience and rents the space by the hour. It has transformed an empty retail unit and created a facility with the flexibility of being able to be adapted for a multitude of potential functions in literally minutes.

Key to this flexibility are 20 large digital screens on its walls, plus an interactive kiosk, which were supplied by Hughes Trade and installed by Hughes Smart. The screens can be programmed to show relevant information for whichever organisation is using Sook and allows all sorts of different products and services to showcase their brand using a state-of-the-art digital content, sound and lighting solution.

The concept was the brainchild of John Hoyle who explained; “We now have a great location in the heart of Cambridge, thanks to the support of Legal & General. Sook offers tremendous possibilities for organisations large and small as it can be rented by the hour for a flat fee, from £30, which will vary depending on time and day of the week.

“Fundamental to its huge potential is the ‘digital wallpaper’ which we have worked closely with Steve Dempsey from Hughes Trade to refine and which links to a state-of-the-art light and sound system. As this is a completely new concept it has been a learning curve for both of us but we are delighted with what we have achieved.”

Added Steve Dempsey; “It has been great responding to the challenge of working with John and his team on this unique venture. We created the kiosk specifically for Sook which allows interaction between organisations using it and their customers.

“We have a rental agreement on all the equipment meaning John can manage cash flow, always a benefit for start-up businesses, and we can be very be flexible on its length. It also takes the worry out of anything going wrong, while for most businesses it is 100 per cent tax deductible.”

The ‘digital wallpaper’ enables users to show existing content or create their own using the online template – potentially in a matter of minutes! Then have a virtual tour to see what it will look like; or they can use Sook’s own in-house design team.

Although it only opened its doors in January 2020, Sook has nearly 60 bookings already in the diary.

“The reaction of businesses and organisations to the whole concept of Sook, and its potential, has been very encouraging” said John Hoyle. “As has the feedback from those who have used it.

“We are really thrilled that ‘Clicks and Mortar’, an initiative supported by Amazon, Square and Direct Line, to let online traders trial selling through a physical presence on the High Street, will be using Sook in April.

“Our plan is to eventually roll the concept out across the country, with the next one opening in central London by the summer.”

Hughes Trade is the B2B division of Hughes Electrical, specialising in the supply of a wide range of electrical products to trade and businesses across the UK. Products range from CCTV to the latest cutting-edge audio visual and IT technology to essential kitchen appliances and everything in-between.

It was started in 2007 and currently has 8,500 active accounts operating from its branches throughout the country with over 50 members of staff.

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