In-store, the experience is everything

Article tagged with: Innovation

What is your store offering today in the way of “experience”? Retailers who haven’t looked at this issue deeply must make it an early priority in 2019 following another challenging year. Despite a buoyant holiday sales season, high-profile bankruptcies in 2018 showed that slow-to-innovate retailers are deeply vulnerable. Retailers who are examining how to not merely survive, but thrive – which, really, should be every retailer – can take a look at 9 Trends Affecting Your Future to find food for thought.

Retail Leader has cherry picked the nine trends retailers can’t ignore; we previously selected another of these, personalization, for more analysis here, and we’re choosing experiential retail as a second trend that retailers really must scrutinize carefully. This matches what we’re seeing in the market from some of the most forward-looking retailers: the boldest have closely analyzed what they’re doing in store and are being honest with themselves about whether their in-store experience has what it takes to bring existing customers back and hook new ones. 

Retailers must get use to the fact that shoppers both young and old are thinking twice about whether they need more stuff. It’s a radical idea – that retailers should have to cater for the wishes of shoppers who don’t want to buy anything – but with retail sales across the board continuing to plummet, there’s room at the strategy table for radical. 

What makes your store memorable?  

While stuff is stuff, memories last, especially if they’re shared with a friend. Increasingly retailers are offering customers the opportunity to make memories, with service offerings or creative promotions that make a visit to the store worthwhile, and a clear winner compared to online. And so we see stores that sell beauty products offering spa-like treatment experiences that let shoppers try before they buy; department stores, too, are setting up on-site gyms and offering boxing lessons to surprise and delight customers. 

The jury is out on whether these experiential initiatives will work – Retail Leader calls this the era of “rampant experimentation” – but what’s clear is the trend among retailers to make themselves memorable and a place to visit even for shoppers who aren’t in the mood to buy goods. 

The jury is out on whether these experiential initiatives will work – Retail Leader calls this the era of “rampant experimentation” – but what’s clear is the trend among retailers to make themselves memorable and a place to visit even for shoppers who aren’t in the mood to buygoods.

The secret of the successful in-store experience seems to lie in the traditional recipe for retail success: knowing your customer. Look hard at the customer need and find creative – potentially technology-fueled – ways of meeting that need in-store, and the rest will follow. Sales, cross-sells and upsells can happen organically in an environment where the customer need is truly prioritized.

Courses, classes, opportunities to try, touch, taste and discuss products with an expert are all experiences that – as of now – are delivered better in person than by e-commerce. One thing that innovative retailers are exploiting enthusiastically is the experience base of their own in-store personnel: by investing significantly in training, they are ensuring that shoppers look forward to consulting and spending time with their experts. That’s a sure way to bring those customers – and their friends – back another day.

What experience can you offer that would make shoppers seek out your store rather than another, online or offline? 

To learn more on 9 Trends Affecting Your Future, read the full original piece here from Retail Leader.

 

Ref.

Nxtbook.com. (2018). Retail Leader – March/April 2018. [online] 


Posted by
aperionsolutions

Dated
02.10.2019