How Retailers are Redefining the In-Store Experience

Future in Retail Shopping

March 4, 2019

As consumers become more and more picky about what stores they shop, savvy retailers are upping their game in the form of in-store experiences that aim to delight.

With the recent shuttering of retail giants like Toys’R’Us and Sears, the writing is on the walls: customers are investing in experiences over products. The stores that can’t meet their expectations will have to step up or step out.

Beyond the statistics, the reality of the matter is that shoppers don’t choose to shop in-store because they have to anymore – they do so because they want to. Retailers that provide a compelling experience for them, whether it’s the Pick & Build Wall at the Lego Store or the giant vehicle vending machine carousel at Carvana, are going to be the big winners here.

And money, it would seem, is not the bottom line. High-end brands paired with a branded experience are winning the race – think the Apple Store, Sephora, or the 30,000 square foot House of Vans in London, which features a live music venue, art gallery, and a skate park on the lower levels, complete with a concrete bowl, mini ramps, and a street area.

Why consumers shop in-store

While many retailers still struggle with the Amazon effect, experiences are a way to draw the audience indoors. Ultimately, it’s not that difficult – you just have to start thinking like your customers.

And what do they think?

According to the National Retail Federation’s annual Consumer View report for winter 2019, 55 percent of millennials say they go to stores as a social activity. Additionally, 66 percent say that in-store is still how they prefer to shop, indicating that brick-and-mortar still has a lot of value yet to be tapped.

In general, this report found that retailers who invested in technology, fulfillment and in-store experiences could expect a good ROI. Here’s why:

Inspiring your audience with AR

Shoppers look to the in-store experience for inspiration. Companies like Sephora, who offers a smart makeup mirror, and Lacoste, whose app invites shoppers to “try on” shoes. Magic Mirrors, virtual dressing rooms, and various other types of augmented reality applications are being tapped as the next wave of consumer expectation.

Free shipping and BOPIS

Free shipping is a critical tipping point for consumers, especially for small items or goods under $50. The trend towards BOPIS (buy online pick-up in-store) is ultimately driven by the fact that picking up is still free while shipping may not be. By providing an avenue for BOPIS, you are inviting an opportunity to capture more sales and customer loyalty by bringing them into the store.

Virtual reality comes of age in retail

From Lowe’s home improvement Holorooms to Mercedes Benz foray into VR test drives, and over to Toms’ VR presentations on how their philanthropy is helping needy children in developing countries, virtual reality is benefiting retailers everywhere increase sales in remarkably creative ways.

In conclusion, it is clear that in-store retail is nowhere near the demise predicted only short years ago. Consumers are spending more on experiences than ever before, and retailers who can meet the demand in a creative, on-brand manner are tapped to disrupt.

Of course, with all the digital insights these technologies deliver, processing the data you collect from them is critical to making smart, timely business decisions. Reach out today to learn more about how Mojix can help.

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