In an age where consumers have more disposable income than ever, and more brands to choose from then any human can recall, how are retail managers preparing for the future? It is now obscure to merely have an online presence that caters to consumer convenience, there is now a larger obstacle for retailer managers to face…
…insert the concept of experiential brick-and-mortar stores. Some call it ‘retail theatre’ whereby consumers are now being able to use their senses when going through a purchase experience in-store.
Robin Key, a journalist for LS:N Global, identified that retailers’ should be identifying and creating strategies/measures of success for these three questions;
- What is the point of your store?
2. Why should you even bother with a store?
3. How can you create loyalty?
If you are to keep (or open) a physical store for your brand, you must understand and create a specific purpose of it. It is crucial that retail managers acknowledge that the simple selling of products is not a purpose – that can be done online, at a greater convenience to customers.
Whether it be a tutorial for understanding your product – for example Nescafè, whereby they allow customers to come into stores and trial different coffee bean roasts after purchasing their coffee machine. Additionally, they can learn different features of their machine – such as decalcifying and cleaning – whilst drinking a coffee in-store.
Then, you must weigh out the pros and cons of deciding to open a store. Do you generate enough sales online? Does what you wish to achieve by opening a store achievable in regards to costs? Remember, if you are hoping to go above and beyond your competitors through an innovative, in-store, experience, it will most likely revolve around digital or customer service – both high in operation costs.
We are seeing now a lot of retailers, predominantly global/established brands, integrating innovative technology into their store experience.
An example being Ralph Lauren’s interactive dressing room mirror. This feature allows customers to now change the lighting, change sizes, check stock and upload photos of them in potential outfits so they can view it from another perspective.
Check out the potential interactive dressing-room mirrors have in this short video:
Lastly, how do you turn your innovative and customer-focused store into a loyalty-generating feature for your brand. The interaction itself – whether that be digital or customer service based – will help to create interest in your brand as you are providing entertainment/education to your consumers. However, uniqueness will be the deciding factor as to if you succeed in generating loyalty. Whether that be incorporating your own idea of augmented reality or mobile commerce, brand managers will have to ensure customers are having fun and involved with your brand.
Here are a few strategies for retail managers;
- Forget customers – Demand fans
- Bring back the old school personal interaction between customer and store employee
- Play games – Encourage discount-seeking customers by immersing themselves in brand-owned online games
- Be a retail psychologist – manipulate emotions, be creative and illicit a response from your customers that will be unique to your brand and your brand personality.