With such a drastic shift in consumer behaviour, over the past few years the retail landscape is becoming increasingly complex. It was only relatively recently, that radical predictions were being made, suggesting that the future of retail is online and advances in technology would mean online shopping would drive brick and mortar stores into extinction.
Though it’s highly likely that online sales will continue to increase, there is a vast amount of research that suggests that shoppers still prefer to make their purchases in store – being able to touch and test out products before making a purchase is more appealing than buying an item online and being disappointed when it arrives.
Therefore, retailers should consider how they can give customers the ‘human touch’ element in store, while keeping some of the benefits of browsing online. In order to remain competitive, it’s critical that there is mutual support between the online and offline retail experience, synchronising ecommerce and retail stores to ensure they’re offering consumers an engaging, personalised and frictionless shopping experience.
Successful online retailers are doing just this, becoming part of an unexpected trend by moving from online to bricks and mortar stores.
Tech giant Amazon, for example, is paving the way for the future of retail, moving into the offline world by creating a truly frictionless shopping experience using the latest technology to launch the first unmanned store. Customers can walk into the shop with their Amazon Go app and take items off the shelves, put them straight into their bags, and leave.
This isn’t at all far from shoppers using apps and websites to simply swipe through products, add them to their online basket, pay for them, and have a receipt emailed to them within minutes. In both situations, there’s no queues, cashiers or paper receipts.
For a clicks to bricks transition to be successful, it’s vital that customers can easily interact with a store in the same way they would a website, ensuring the immersive is both empowering and engaging, but also as convenient as using a website.
This was the aim when HMY partnered with Futbol Emotion to assist with their transition from online to brick and mortar. Interactive kiosks were placed in store to act as helpful information stations, catering to every step of the buying process, much like an online shopping experience would. As well as being able to physically see the products, customers can use these kiosks to access information including available sizes, colours, as well as prices and promotions.Moving to a physical shopping experience also allows for retailers to offer customers added benefits that online shoppers aren’t able to take advantage of.
Fast-fashion online retailer Missguided, for example, designed its stores to make a big impact on shoppers, using clever branding and a striking store design. The store is very clearly an extension of the website, with features including mirrored stairs, a pool-party inspired changing room area and slogan boxes. Not only does this highly attractive store design appeal to the brand’s target audience, it also encourages social shares.
It is clearly hugely advantageous for online retailers to make what may seem as an unexpected shift into bricks and mortar, and it’s being successfully implemented by a number of big-name brands. However, it’s important to remember that these brands already have a huge following, and the online and offline channels must work in harmony, in order to offer shoppers a seamless, informative and entertaining experience, however they shop.
Contact us to find out more about how we can help you to turn your point of sale into a dynamic, digital and innovative space where emotions plays a key role in your relationship with your customer.