Retail will be hard this year with eCommerce giants dominating the market. The disadvantage of eCommerce is that it’s become too convenient. It is fast with no fuss. But other than purchasing, customers lose out on other experiences that come with shopping onsite. Shops need to up the ante as far as experience is concerned to take back conventional shopping and eventually, take a share of the consumers’ wallet and money.
Online shopping is nothing short of amazing. It can anticipate your every move and move faster than the regular sales lady assisting you with your purchases. Physical stores should not compete in this area. A human touch is more apt for an exceptional in-store experience.
On the other hand, a store’s layout plays an important role. Architecture is one thing for a store to carefully consider, advertising is another. Banner printing has long been a channel to depict a message that customers might be interested in. Also, try using pop up display stands to steer customers to your stores to let them know where they can find you. Brands have the full advantage of the senses to come up with a shopping experience that customers can come back to.
Moreover, brands with physical stores have more chances to create a remarkable affair for the shopper. This means brands have to focus on the customers more than the products. An example is to create a visual journey where pictures surround the store not with brands but with soothing sceneries. Another is to take care of the men who take their wives or girlfriends to stores by providing comfortable seating for them to wait on. This way, the shopping experience is a welcoming activity, rather than a chore.
It is not about the stores per se, but about the experience that you can offer the shoppers. Although last year was about digital discovery for the industry, retail is still a people business – it’s all about the customers and what they need.
While the digital experience made a huge leap in the last few years, extreme personalisation can also be too creepy, bordering on privacy intrusion. Because there is an abundance of data, brands forget that customers need space too. Physical stores have an opportunity to be subtle where the digital world is too upfront and noisy. Everything has become about the technology and less about what customers can feel when encountering brands.
Print advertising has persevered, with ubiquitous presence in stores, mainly because it is a familiar method that is meant to convey a brand’s message or respond to consumers’ needs. Other point-of-sale materials like mobile stands are still much used today because they create a place for customers and sales people to interact with each other.
Perhaps, the best experience is still a face to face encounter with products that they want.