In an age where players like Amazon enable people to purchase products with a tap of a button, brick-and-mortar retailers need to step up their game and offer a retail experience that people can’t get online or on their phones.
What makes a great retail experience?
The answer to this question will depend on what kind of store you have. Different stores need different strategies, so every retailer needs to figure out the best system that works with their specific needs.
You need to know these three things and use them as a benchmark for your retail experience.
Need some inspiration on how to keep your customers coming back? We’ve put together a list of the types of retail experiences that will inspire them. Take a look and see if you can use any ideas in your store.
1. Hunting for treasures
The one thing that gets people into a store is the thrill of finding something they want. It’s why treasure hunts are so popular (and addictive!).
People need to feel like it’ll be gone forever if they don’t buy something now.
TJX is one of the best examples of creating a treasure hunt experience. They are always stocked with new and limited items at unbeatable prices, which has helped them grow their company immensely.
Shoppers know that the items they find at TJX won’t be around for long, so they’re compelled to buy as soon as possible.
Lidl is one of the many retailers that has been successful with an engaging treasure hunt experience.
When you consider making your stores more attractive, try out the treasure hunt technique. If it works for you, use it in a way that will bring about changes in your retail experience strategy.
You can, for example, rotate your merchandise more often to keep it fresh.
The ultimate goal is to keep customers on their toes by always presenting them with new, exciting items when they visit your store.
A crucial step in improving your inventory is to deep dive into the data and figure out what products are trending. Use software like stock control, which tracks product movements over time, to understand how much of each item you should order.
It’s also essential to keep up with the latest trends in your industry to know what topics are popular among customers.
2. Shopping should feel like a safe and secure retail experience.
With pandemic fears over, it seems that the world is opening back up to retailers. But COVID-19 remains a genuine concern for consumers as they will return again and again to those who make them feel safe.
Don’t let your store become a health hazard. Stay on top of keeping it clean and follow local guidelines to the letter.
It’s crucial to let shoppers know about your safety measures. Use signage, decals, and customer communication channels like email to make sure they understand what you’re doing.
If you want your customers to come back and keep coming back, they need to trust that purchasing is the best quality.
3. When it comes to customer service, nothing beats face-to-face interaction.
Online retailers can never provide the same customer service that you get in-store. Sure, they might offer reviews and live chat for information, but nothing beats having someone there to answer your questions.
Recently, I decided to search for dry shampoo because my hair is constantly greasy. The problem was that there are so many different products, and it’s hard to tell which one will work best before buying them online or testing them in-store.
What does your salesperson know about the products they’re selling? Do they have a deep understanding of them and offer tips that you won’t find online?
If your staff isn’t up to par, you need to ensure they’re getting the proper training. That’s step one.
To keep your employees happy, it’s essential to make sure they know all about the products you sell. If that doesn’t work for them, try making unboxing sessions a regular thing.
4. Constant change is what keeps us going.
Retail stores are constantly changing to keep up with the latest trends and consumer demands. That’s why we’re never bored of going there!
However, you can’t just change your store and merchandise every two months, but there are some steps you could take to switch things up. If it’s not practical for you right now, think about implementing these strategies in the future.
Keep new products at the front of your store. Change up how you display items.
It’s essential to ensure that your window displays are always fresh and new. It might be worth trying different techniques like using props or changing the order of items.
5. The trend of omnichannel shopping is taking off.
In today’s modern shopping environment, retailers need to get the key components of omnichannel retail experiences – including buy online pickup in-store and curbside pickup – right. If they do this, shoppers will keep coming back.
Google found that people switch devices during the day, and it’s essential to keep up with them.
Make it easy for your customers to purchase from you no matter what device they’re on or which site platform they’re using.
Give your customers the option to pick up their order at a nearby location or have it shipped. Some shoppers want an instant gratification experience and don’t care about convenience.
When you have a physical location, it’s crucial to be available for your customers no matter where they are. For example, this could mean giving them the ability to pick up their items in-store or curbside.
Target is an excellent example of this because they invested in omnichannel, BOPIS, and curbside before the pandemic. They were rewarded for their efforts.
No website or app can replace it.
Use it to your advantage.
Use your shop to build communities. Do you have a space for classes or events? What about just having coffee and meeting people in the area?
To create a high-quality customer retail experience, you may not be able to build the stadium of your dreams. But ask yourself: “Can I design an environment where my customers are comfortable and happy?”
7. When you’re building a product, it’s essential to keep in mind the features that your target market will be most interested in.
When customers can build their products, they feel like the product is theirs. They also get a sense of ownership and pride in what they’ve created.
Dresden is an excellent example of how product-building can occur in the eyewear industry. They’ve provided customers with eye exams and glasses for over 50 years.
A company in Australia takes plastic waste from the beaches, and discarded fishing nets recycles them into affordable frames. You can choose your frame color or shape by swapping out different sunglasses parts.
So, now you can buy eco-friendly eyewear that’s also stylish and unique.
Birchbox is an online beauty sample company where customers can select their samples. They have a wide selection of products, and after making five selections, the customer will receive them in a box.
The experience is easy, fun, and affordable. It’s a trifecta of retail success!
8. You can offer different products and services at a discount if you bundle them together.
Retailers are starting to bundle products and services, which is great because it’s a win-win situation. If customers buy your product in the store, they’re likely to want something else too!
A few beauty retailers have been on this bandwagon for quite some time now, but more and more stores in the homeware sector seem to be catching onto it.
Furniture stores are getting more creative to entice customers. Wayfair and IKEA have started selling installation services for furniture, with Ikea buying TaskRabbit, a service that connects consumers looking for help with tasks like assembling new furniture or installing appliances.
Unlike Amazon and other competitors, Wayfair partnered with Handy, which is a service that connects consumers to professionals in their area.
Ask yourself, is there a service that you could provide to your customers to make their lives easier? Can it be done internally, or would another company need to help with the task?
9. Social media is all the rage these days, so be sure to set up your social media page.
It’s no secret that consumers are craving experiences that they can share on social media. As AdWeek puts it, “These days if consumers can’t Instagram a store, it’s almost not even worth going.”
The problem is that the younger generations are not motivated by pay alone.
Many Gen Y and Z consumers are digital natives who live on social media.
It’s a perfect place for people who like posting pictures of their purchases.
This boutique, Morning Lavender in Orange County, California, does just that. They have a wall of flowers to encourage shoppers to take photos inside the store.
Apart from the experience of purchasing flowers, customers are also eager to post their purchases on social media because they can’t help but share how beautiful it is.
Fashion retailer Showpo took things a step further and created the “social media nook” inside their pop-up store in Los Angeles. The space is just an Instagram cafe with cakes, tea accessories, and couches.
At the cafe, nothing was edible, but it’s what you come for.
“We know that this is how our girl likes to interact with brands,”
Explains the company’s Brand Manager, Rosalie Molloy.
“She wants to shop, have a picture in-store, try on an outfit and take a mirror selfie. So we’ve incorporated those elements into the shop.”
10. Retailtainment is a new term coined to describe stores with an entertainment component.
As the name suggests, retailtainment is about combining entertainment with your retail space to make shopping more exciting. This often means adding attractions and spectacles that grab shoppers’ attention.
What kind of retailtainment should you offer? That depends on your store and customers. For example, celebrities or industry professionals could do the trick in some cases.