Customer experience – traditional retails greatest weapon

Online is huge, it’s the future, (But) there is nothing that replaces the feeling of a physical store.” Mickey Drexler, CEO of J. Crew

What people want from their trip to the shops hasn’t changed much: seduction, fun, instant gratification, discovery, service, sensory inspiration – touch, sound and smell – convenience, social interaction, local-ness. A trip to the shops is still at its best an enjoyable outing.

This contrasts markedly with online which can only offer a more solitary, functional version of shopping.  Something important is lost through the experience of communicating and shopping online.

Similarly, a brand you can touch and feel is more real than a virtual brand. Sure, some of the world’s most valiuable brands have been built online, but the ones who inspire genuine engagement are few. A number of big online brands have come and gone (Myspace, Yahoo) and who fondly remembers interacting with them? We would argue that people care more about brands with a tangible component. And as Amazo, Google and others plan their store openings, it would seem they agree.

These differences between the virtual and real worlds are what store-based retailers need to take advantange of.

Depending on the category, the sensory aspects of retailing can be as important or even more so (at least to the customer) than the operational and functional components. Traditional retailers who embrace the experiential dimension of the shopping experience have an advantage over online competitors.

Woodies KioskThis doesn’t mean adding a pretty pink bow to your hardware store, it means delivering the right experience for any given environment and demographic. Experiential technologies enhance in-store shopping with engaging, personalised environments, interactive interfaces, customer- specific responses, video on demand, augmented reality and social media integration to ultimately create a bespoke and compelling experience for each individual consumer to ensure every visitor is a sale and every sale is an upsell.happy-shoppers-in-the-dressing-room

Want to know more about the natural advantages that store operators have over their online equivalents and the kind of technologies that can be harnessed by trad retailers to re-engage digitally-empowered shoppers?

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