7 ELEMENTS OF A WINNING IN-STORE RETAIL EXPERIENCE
It’s no secret that expectations of the shopping experience are higher than ever. We have witnessed a shift in recent years, accelerated by the pandemic, whereby today’s omniconsumer has more control of their own shopping experience than ever before. They are drawn to retail experiences that teach them something new, offer them something to enhance the experience overall, and empower them with hands-on technology.
Numerous research studies, including Mood’s own studies, show that consumers still love physical retail. At the same time, because of the recent crisis consumers across all ages and all demographics have become much more comfortable with technology and its role in shopping. This provides an opportunity for retailers to marry the best of digital shopping with the best of physical shopping to create a truly elevated customer experience.
So what constitutes a winning in-store retail experience, and how can businesses meet these ever-changing consumer expectations? In this article, you’ll learn the seven elements that brands should look to implement or develop within their stores to ensure a greater emotional connection and therefore a more successful retail experience.
1 Immersive Technology
Blurring the lines between online and offline is becoming increasingly important for brands. Artfully blending in-store and digital experiences allows retailers to present a truly cohesive and instantly recognizable brand experience for consumers. By focusing on immersive retail experiences that utilize technology, brands are able to provide customers with fun, unique and in-person experiences that elevate shopping to new heights.
Integrating a visionary digital strategy aimed at delivering incredible experiences is a fundamental way to create a winning in-store retail experience. From touchscreens that can pull up sign-in screens for customers to search their purchase history and wish list or enable them to browse product ranges and engage with your content with a simple touch, to virtual sampling stations that allow customers to virtually try before they buy, there are many solutions suited to your store and budget.
Other solutions such as Lift & Learn help take customer engagement to the next level, quite literally putting the shopping experience into their own hands. Featuring in-store digital screens that display specific promotional content whenever the associated product is lifted from a shelf, Lift & Learn technology is a great way to create a unique and memorable customer experience within your store.
In the automotive space, car configurators are becoming increasingly popular as they allow customers to configure their perfect vehicle on the big screen, tapping into the major retail trend of the moment that is personalization. Presentation functions empower sales staff to connect and mirror tablets, laptops and mobile devices so customers can see their dream car take shape through their choice of exterior and interior trim options amongst many other custom upgrades.
2 Exceptional Customer Service
It may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how easy it is to let this one slip for that very reason. As online sales soared during the world’s many lockdowns, so did customers’ frustrations of struggling to reach an actual human being regarding issues with products and services. Now more than ever, shoppers are craving the simplicity of human interaction and having their queries solved and questions answered face-to-face. Don’t underestimate the power of meaningful human connections and shared experiences. Your store should be providing exceptional customer service that can’t be replicated online, with staff who are ready to listen, interact and provide helpful information.
3 Show Them You Care
For consumers, the last few years have been a time of reflection. We have seen them rethinking the ways in which they shop, developing a heightened awareness of the climate change crisis and realizing just how prevalent existing inequalities are in society.
According to our Charting In-Store Trends survey, two-thirds (66%) of shoppers rank sustainable practices and selling sustainable products as the highest of all factors when choosing which stores to visit. The newer generations of customers in particular are paying attention to a company’s commitment to certain causes and are much more intentional on where they spend their well-earned cash.
As a result of growing customer interest in social and environmental practices, brands should be striving to become more transparent. In the physical retail space, this could translate as educating consumers around your brand’s sustainability practices or philanthropic programs via content displayed on screens, offering recycling points or repair services, or even utilizing experiential media technologies such as those named earlier to help increase awareness around product manufacturing, sourcing and the working conditions of those involved in the process.
Behind the scenes, revising your content strategy, working with an expert in in-store media solutions who can advise you on best practices, and also using a CMS of minimal energy usage such as Mood Harmony, can all contribute to a more sustainable and welfare oriented physical retail space.
4 Branded Music
Connecting with your customers on an emotional level can be the difference between a good in-store Retail Experience and a great one. Music is one of the simplest ways to do this, helping you to easily create a memorable experience for your customers that will keep them coming back to your store time and time again. A Mood study showed that music is a top factor in lifting one’s mood in-store, with 85% of consumers saying music has a positive impact on their experience. Other Mood studies have shown that the right music increases shoppers’ dwell times, which in turn increases basket sizes and sales, and their likelihood of returning to that particular store.
No matter the industry, or size and scale of business, a qualified retail music designer can work with you to define and make your ideal audio branding strategy a reality. Branded music with a positive, yet empathetic energy that meets customers where they are today is a key driving force in forging an unforgettable experience.
5 Great Work Culture
It’s a fact: engaged staff are much more productive and in turn, provide a better service. A Smarp study demonstrated that engaged employees outperform their peers that are not engaged. It found that overall, companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable. Why not incorporate digital screens into your staffroom areas to inspire employee engagement? Back of House content can also include things like tips & tricks, details about active store promotions, celebrations of your brand’s community involvements, reminders about upcoming events, etc. It’s a much easier, more manageable and more sophisticated way of communicating with team members vs. an old-school bulletin board of outdated papers.
6 Build a Community
These days, customers are expecting an experience beyond the transactional. So aside from stellar customer service, engaging touchpoints and a killer soundtrack, what else could you offer them? Figure out how you can use your shop to build communities. Could you hold workshops or events? Are there spaces or elements in your store that would encourage people to meet and get together, where they can not only shop but spontaneously socialize? Furthermore, do you have somewhere fit for content creation? Aesthetically pleasing areas within stores, particularly in the fashion and beauty sector, are on the rise as more and more brands tap into millennial culture, encouraging as much social media activity, engagement and social selling as possible.
7 Make saying “Yes” to your product easy
Today’s consumer is plagued by choices and in turn, seeks shortcuts to decision making. They’re looking to make more informed decisions and seek more guidance. This essentially translates into anything in-store that can provide specific staff recommendations or can highlight top-rated options, suggest the best pairings, etc. Whatever your product or in-store offering looks like, digital signage, digital shelving and even overhead messaging can help shoppers get to “yes” faster and much more efficiently.
Memories of what we feel, hear, see, smell, and touch, have the potential to last a lifetime, and the unique experiences and exceptional services you provide are critical to ensure your store is up there with being remembered fondly. By exceeding customer expectations you drive emotional reactions and a winning in-store retail experience that will leave customers feeling connected, captivated and keen for more.
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