While brands are making bigger and bolder moves to delight in-store, nailing the basics remains key to a successful store experience on a low-budget.
Speaking at Retail Week Connect Masterclass – The Future of Store, our MD, Lisa Ronan discussed ‘The Role of the Store in this Digital Age’.
From test & play, mobile payment, to well-informed staff and instagrammable moments, Lisa explores imaginative ways retailers can meet and exceed the convenience of online in a 3-part blog series.
How can retailers delight in-store?
The first point of call in a physical store is to nail the basics. Get rid of ‘pain points’ in-store. Eliminate till queues, train staff of the product, hire brand ambassadors, have clear product information and effective displays, clear VM zoning. The basics are still just as important. This can pave the way to making your store experience meet the convenience of online. Then look at the opportunities to delight in-store.
Reflect your customers passions. Think of how Selfridges collaborate with the most relevant brands to their customers and host socially and politically relevant CSR events. They reflect their customers passions.
Dish & Duer: test & play
Dish & Duer is a Canadian denim brand that certainly delight in-store. After seeing a gap in the market for functional clothing, CEO, Gary Lenett sought to develop performance fabric he could cycle to work in. Naturally, Dish & Duer
To amplify their in-store experience, Dish & Duer, naturally added bikes for customers to cycle on while trying on the denim, as well as a treehouse, swings and monkey bars to really get active in their denim. They also have their head office in-store, so their team can get instant feedback on product. While customers can literally watch the designers create – bringing the customer closer to the brand and creating that emotional connection.
So, what is your version of that? What do your customers want in-store? Don’t just put in augmented reality because “it’s the way forward” or a coffee shop because it “increases dwell time”. They may be true, but are they right for your brand and your customer?
We don’t segment, very intentionally. What I’m interested in now is a community of passion, rather than segmentation.
The CMO of Harrods, Amanda Hill, recently said that she refuses to segment customers and instead links customers as a community of passions. So, taking the ‘community’ of customers who love designer shoes – who are they, what do they want in-store, how do they shop, then how do they interact with each other?
If you consider those points, you should get closer to knowing them and knowing how you can delight them in-store. And you do need to delight in-store because a store just can’t beat the convenience of online – so it needs to meet a different need.
What simple tricks are there for in-store experience success on a low budget?
Don’t just integrate trendy tech that you don’t necessarily need. You do need a seamless experience from online to in-store and investing in tech will help you do that across the long-term – but that doesn’t entirely need to be expensive interactive mirrors or RFID.
Gen Z don’t necessarily need tablets or screens in-store, they carry all the tech they need in their hands with their phones! Rather, they want something to photograph and something to share. If they are your customer, go in to your store and take out your phone and see how quickly you come across a ‘shareable moment’ – and if that isn’t straight away – then create one, fast. So, if they’re your customer and they don’t need tablets or interactive screens, then maybe invest your tech budget in something like mobile payment from anywhere in-store. Potentially your customer just simply wants a backdrop for an Instagram photo, an ideal space to take their photo. It doesn’t need to be expensive.
Magnum: instagrammable moments
A great example of this is Magnum’s instagrammable cubes to hold your personalised Magnum in and take a photo – that’s all their customers wanted. The Missguided launch was huge and engaging and costly – but at the heart of it, it’s really just creating a “shareable moment”, which could be anything on brand.
Maybe your customers just need a clear surface to test and play with the product. Like Dyson, maybe you just need some dirt on the floor!
Another more affordable experiential opportunity is collaboration. You might not be able to afford regular in-store events, but a relevant partnership will make that more feasible. For example, MAC and Bumble & Bumble combined budgets to create a hair and make-up store, bringing in clients for both make-up, hair services and tutorials – increasing footfall but also raising awareness of each brand to potentially new audiences.
In-store human interaction
But lastly, in many ways, the most influential aspect of your store experience is human interaction with your floor staff. Humans crave human interaction. It’s what makes our whole species successful. And we’re being starved of human interaction with our heads in our phones. A friendly and informed interaction with your floor staff can shape your entire experience in-store. Not the ‘salesy’ approach trying to increase Units Per Transaction or Average Transaction Value or increase their commission. Review your in-store team KPI’s to reflect customer engagement rates, social media engagement or even online sales from that store’s locality.
Train your team on how to recognise when someone genuinely wants to interact, give them the brand knowledge to impart, a genuine passion for the brand and the emotional intelligence training to know how to communicate with different people. We don’t have, or even particularly want, robot staff. The most budget-friendly influence that you can have on your shop floor isn’t store design, it’s highly-trained and passionate staff.