Over the latest years we hear that brick-and-mortar retailers are going to suffer more and more from the on-line shopping and sooner or later they will be disappearing, completely substituted by the digital buying processes of Apps/ecommerce. But is ‘the retail apocalypse’ really happening? And if yes, how fast? To start we know that in-store shopping occurs for the 91% of the overall Retail spending and according to a 2017 State of Retail report surveying 2,000 consumers about their behaviors around retail shopping, 50% revealed they sometimes browse online then make their way to the store to finish their purchase.
The Time Trade Survey 2017 shows that If the item is not available both online and in a near-by store, 75% of the interviewed customers claimed they prefer to buy it in store. The best part of the buying in store is the touch and feel of products before buying them (72%) and the personal experience of having a store assistant to help (29%). The Store experience will never be substituted by a cold on-line purchase, this is clear. Sure, there are many customers who like the convenience of shopping online, but the immersive, experience-driven customer prefers to do some online shopping and then go into the store to complete his/her purchase.
That’s why the Retailers have to ensure that the Store actually provides that immersive experience that involves all four senses and leads the customers to want to go back there. Physical Stores need to enhance the emotional customer experience making the Customer Journey a Shopper’s Paradise, through the mix of 5 senses and the new technologies available in the market
With the correct mix of sense stimulation and the use of new technologies consumers will now experience the stores, not only buy there.
Smell: it is well known that when we’re hungry we buy more – well what is the best smell in the world that makes us immediately hungry? Bread – here you go the Bakery right on the right in the entry. And what about Apparel Retailers? Many spray vanilla or Lavanda scents parfumes to relax customers while Shopping.
Taste: this is the most difficult one to stimulate, unless in the store there is fresh food and you can offer free samples, otherwise it is difficult to somehow touch it. If possible offer soft drinks or coffee already helps, otherwise with scents reminding good and sweet food can also help.
Hearing: depending of the age of the target, music have to be appropriate but it is always necessary. Disco, Rap, Classic or pop music, any music is better than silence. Sounds help customers not to think about the time passing by in the store and concentrating about the products to buy. It has to be part of the experience overall.
Sight: This is the most obvious one – having products In open display to look at drives the impulse of buying immediately. The more free and open the better. Sometimes security and damage of products could be a problem if the merchandise is high risk or luxury type, but there is nothing worse then no product or fake products instead of real ones. Invest in Technology that let the Merchandise in open Display and make customers confortable in trying them out should be no brainer.
Touch: this is related to the previous sense of the sight, touching is equal important and making things accessible for customers to touch (except for fragile things) is imperative. When goods aren’t accessible, even as a sample, there’s an invisible buying barrier. Test and feel the products in your hands is a complete experience, rather then seeing a close box. Remember that consumers are not buying a thrill-machine, they’re buying the possibility to make holes in the walls and feel themselves proud of it.
Related to the previous two ones – availability of the goods plays a key role in the emotional consumer journey. If a out-of-stock of even a single product occurs there are major chances that a customer will not buy anything or even will never come back to the store. Real – time inventory has to be a priority for the omni-channel Retailers in 2018.
Make the Customer Journey a Shopper’s Paradise has to be the imperative of 2018 for Retailers.