As consumer demands become greater and customer loyalty – harder to win over, it becomes more and more important for brands to entice their in-store customers and offer them a fantastic experience. Here are a handful of ways to create the ultimate shopper experience.
Deliver rich experiences
Consumers are showing increasingly high expectations when it comes to shopping. The overwhelming industry research in retail last year focused on the increasing importance of offering experiential shopping to appeal to customers’ senses. This builds a positive and memorable experience, building brand loyalty to help brands to thrive in the future.
By creating immersive experiences, retailers can drive people to their stores, ensuring they leave with both products and great memories. For example, Ralph Lauren has transformed the changing room experience with interactive touch-screen mirrors, where shoppers can browse a real-time store inventory and even control light settings, from Fifth Ave Daylight, through to Evening at the Polo Bar. Meanwhile, Hunter’s flagship store in Japan is designed to appeal to the senses with huge digital displays of an imaginary forest, alongside sounds of heavy rain and thunderstorms.
Stores must be set up for a seamless and enjoyable experience, with carefully curated signage and information, irresistible and creative in-store visuals and an open and spacious layout. There should be no ‘sticky’ points, including at the tills.
Many retailers have harnessed the power of tech to integrate online and offline channels and platforms. This helps them offer speed and convenience as well as to meet consumers’ needs at exactly the right time. Examples include Lloyds pharmacy who use in-store kiosks, so shoppers can see the full product offering, the location of the item and any out-of-stock items.
Touch and the multisensory experience
Bricks and mortar shops hold the cards over their online competitors when it comes to tangible experience. Shoppers want to see, touch and take away items, and that’s something only physical stores can offer.
Shops that start leveraging music, visuals, video and scent to create a multisensory experience alway see an increase in sales. In fact, that’s one of the reasons we created the Tokinomo device. We wanted to give shops and brands an easy way to create a real multisensory experience for their customers.
Enhanced customer service
The interaction between staff and shoppers is of key importance and customers must always feel important and valued. That means that staff need in-depth product and industry knowledge, along with exceptional communication skills. When consumers chat to staff who are positive about the products they are selling, this can have a huge impact on brand perception.
Great customer service may include ideas like giving out free samples or tasting sessions. One study by the Journal of Retailing at New York University found that sampling had a positive short-term effect and sustained impact on sales.
Offer personalised shopping and include tech
Retailers need to know and understand exactly the clientele they are looking to attract. They must then curate their shop with that clientele in mind. One of the most powerful things they can do is create a personalised shopping experience with the help of tech. Ideas could include displaying personalised content to shopper via in-store touchscreens, digital concierges to offer advice or recommendations, or sending information directly to consumers’ smartphones, to encourage them to shop in-store.
Create a community
Physical shops bring people together in a way that is not possible with websites or Apps. Bricks and mortar stores can use this to their advantage, running classes or events that entertain and engage potential customers. Business of Fashion recently found that engaged consumers spend more money. The cycling brand Rapha’s shops also serve coffee and cake to cyclists, while Tsutaya Japanese store, opened a Tsutaya Book Apartment, which acts as a shop, office and hotel.
Community isn’t limited to the bricks and mortar store and can extend to the local area, where you can reach local people. Some ideas include partnering with other local businesses, organising charity days or creating a dedicated newsletter.