Retail is rapidly being taken over by e-commerce. Every year, more people are making purchases using websites and apps. Traditional brick-and-mortar stores have their own advantages. Customers can feel and inspect a product and try it on.
However, online shopping is convenient. Consumers can browse multiple stores and find any product they want without leaving the comforts of their own homes. The only distance that they need to walk is from the living room to the door where they can accept their parcels.
The only way businesses with physical locations can compete with e-commerce is to create a strategy that will entice consumers to go out of their houses again. In the past years, many brands have developed and introduce unique experiences in-stores that customers cannot find on the internet.
Ralph Lauren’s Touch-Screen Mirror
Every physical retailer that sells garments should visit a shop fittings store and acquire its own fitting room.
A fitting room is one of the few reasons why consumers still visit physical locations. When they order online, they will always be a chance that the clothing will not fit or would not look as good as they expected. Although most online businesses offer free returns, it still is inconvenient to send it back.
However, in-store, customers can know exactly what they are getting. They get to try on the item before they make a purchase.
Ralph Lauren knew this. That is why, a few years ago, it integrated technology into its fitting rooms.
In its Fifth Ave. store in Manhattan, customers were able to browse inventory and request products right on the fitting room mirrors. The mirrors were touch-enabled screens that worked like a smartphone or tablet. It feels like shopping online, but consumers were able to try on the clothes immediately.
Disney’s Theme Park-Inspired Store Attractions
Disney is known for its movies and theme parks, but the company also has its own stores where fans can buy merchandise featuring popular characters.
However, fans can easily purchase the same product online. So, to encourage them to come and visit their physical locations, Disney took inspiration from its own theme parks. Starting in 2017, in its stores, customers were able to meet recognizable characters and cast members from some of the biggest movies released by the company. There were also large screens that streamed the famous fireworks display and parade at its Disney Parks.
Children who miss the Disneyland experience can reminisce the magic of it all in its retail stores.
Lush’s Friendly Staff
If a customer shopping online has some questions about a product, they need to email the brand’s support. It can take hours, if not a day or two, before they receive a response.
In Lush’s physical locations, customers can approach one of the staff manning the store and ask their questions. The brand ensures that all of its employees are knowledgeable about all the products they are selling. They go through rigorous training so that they can become familiar with the product’s ingredients, what each one promises to do, and how they work. The staff can also assist customers who want to see demonstrations of the product in-store before they make a purchase.
It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it still is an additional reason to go to a store rather than buy online.
House of Vans: a Place for the Youth
The House of Vans in London is an entire mall. It has its own cinema, a venue for live music, an art gallery, a cafe, and a concrete skateboard ramp.
The location is not just a place to shop for shoes; it offers itself as a center where young people can socialize with old and new friends. Consumers go because they can hang out and, maybe, buy a pair of shoes.
Samsung’s Tech Playground
Even in in-store customer experience, Samsung has no plans to bow down to Apple. The South Korean electronics brand in 2016 opened Samsung 837, a three-floor flagship store in New York City.
Samsung wanted the store to be more than just a place for consumers to try out their offerings. The aim was to make Samsung 837 a sort of playground where tech fans can congregate.
In addition to products, Samsung 837 has an art gallery where technology-based installations are displayed for customers to enjoy for free. It is a cool experience, and it gives the public a reason to enter even if they have no intention to purchase a product yet.
Coming up with a unique customer experience will not be easy, but it is the key to keeping physical retail alive in an increasingly digital world.