We all know the shopper experience is important. In fact, 73% of all shoppers pointed to the experience as a key factor in influencing their purchasing decisions, according to a recent PwC study. At the same time, in an online world where shoppers are increasingly more informed, there’s a serious debate as to what kinds of in-store shopping experiences drive the most sales and loyalty? It’s time to end the debate.
Here are 4 ways to create the perfect in-store experience:
1) Actively Respond to Shopper Behavior
According to a soon-to-be-released InReality study, within the next year, 50% of shoppers want to see interactive shopping experiences that respond to them in real-time. Today shoppers are increasingly frustrated with the in-store shopping experience that offers little of the conveniences and instant gratifications they get online—four in ten shoppers going so far as to say that shopping in-store is a ‘chore’, according to a Capgemini study.
Going forward, as the demands from in-store shoppers change, so must the traditional brick-and-mortar format. Many brands and retailers have already responded with experiential spaces. From Bandier’s store featuring a fitness studio and health-focused café, to retailers like Macy’s or Walmart deploying AR games in-store to encourage shoppers to explore new categories, the shopping experience must get more engaging.
Stores must also start responding to in-store shoppers in real-time, while they are actively engaged. Today responsive technologies allow brands and retailers to react instantly and proactively engage shoppers for an enhanced shopping experience.
2) Tailor Experiences to Individual Shopper Interests
On average 71% of consumers express some level of frustration when their shopping experience is impersonal (Segment). And, it makes sense. Today’s shopper is overexposed, and personalization is increasingly becoming an expected part of their daily lives—from customized home screens to curated news feeds, music playlists, email and social media alerts, subscription boxes, and more. Shoppers don’t enter stores expecting less; brick-and-mortar brands and retailers must be able to respond with relevant experiences tailored to each shopper’s interests.
Historically, the problem is the majority of in-store shoppers are “unknown”; they don’t have the mobile app and haven’t opted in or given the retailer their information in some fashion. But, the reality is brands and retailers don’t have to rely on collecting personal shopper data in order to tailor the experience. Responsive technologies allow them to tailor the experience in real-time for the individual shopper in a number of ways. (Learn more about how to tailor the in-store experience without mobile in this post)
3) Make Sales Associates Relevant Again
Interaction with friendly, helpful store staff is one of the key advantages of an in-store retail experience. However, store associates aren’t meeting the needs of today’s shoppers. An InReality study found that around half of shoppers feel they already know more about products they’re interested in than store employees. When information is available to shoppers at the touch of a button it’s no longer nice-to-have associates that are knowledgeable in their respective areas, it’s a must have. Take Hy-Vee supermarkets as an example. They have expert dietitians in-store who provide shopping tours, health screenings, and other nutrition services to deliver a unique shopping experience to health-conscious shoppers.
Another way stores are handling this challenge is with technology. Armed with the right device store associates are able to share products directly with shoppers via email or SMS. Those same devices, coupled with the use of IoT sensors, allow retailers to automatically alert staff to a particular unattended shopper or uncover high-traffic areas in real-time. This seamless experience between online and in-store engagement creates the optimal dynamic between the physical and digital world that shoppers have come to expect.
4) Give Shoppers More Self-Help Tools In-Store
As a result of instant Google search results and YouTube how-to videos, empowered shoppers are increasingly expecting to lead their own journeys, and this expectation is extending in-store. Shoppers want to be able to help themselves. For example, according to an InReality study, 69% of shoppers stated they would be more likely to buy in-store if given self-help tools like digital kiosks or interactive displays, to help with accessing product inventory, product recommendations, product information and getting help finding products.
It’s also not going to stop with digital kiosks or interactive displays. Dozens of additional self-help tools, like smart screens, AR fitting rooms, wayfinders, and mobile apps, are all available to shoppers today, with many more on the way. Don’t let the technology pass you by, otherwise shoppers may do the same.
Can you think of other ways to create the perfect in-store experience? We’d love to hear them! Please share below.