For a country that has 390 million smartphone users and over 400 millennials what works to pull online consumers to offline stores? Better displays, discounts or simply new-age retailing methods? Even when the stores are tech-powered, how do you ensure there are high footfalls? Studies now reveal that empowering a store for the new-age consumers is the present retail truth, writes ShwethaSatyanarayan
The makers of Roadster, the in-house label of online fashion retailer Myntra, proudly call their offline store Roadster Go, the speed shopping store. And it’s not without a reason that these stores are called the speed stores. For, the brand assures a 30-sec checkout process! From billing the products to even paying for it, the self-checkout process happens in a jiffy, without the nightmares of long queues.
Similarly, not very far from the Roadster Go store, at Decathlon store in Bengaluru, customers can skip the long queues by opting to pay through the self-checkout payment option. In less than five minutes, a customer can browse, bill, pay and even walk out of the store.
In the past couple of years, omni-channel retailing has become the cradle of convenience for shoppers. And why not, according to several studies, about 92 per cent of ecommerce order growth happens due to smartphone impact and mobile phones alone drive 60 per cent traffic in the ecommerce marketplace. When the digital impact is so immense, how do offline retailers keep up with the online war and empower their stores? Amercian cloud computing company Salesforce, in a joint study on new-age retailing, has explored various ways through which offline retailers can empower their stores for better sales.
With empowered stores, retailers can not only meet the immediate needs of customers but also build a long-term relationship. Creating unique and compelling physical spaces is the way forward the study says. Here’s how to create such empowered stores:
Let your customers shop on their own
It could be to pick up a pre-booked order or availing the click-and-collect facility, don’t intrude with a young buyer who wants his/her own space when shopping. A dedicated counter for such services which enables seamless connectivity and quick checkouts will often attract tech-savvy customers to stores.
Mobile apps are valuable when seamless and ingrained with the store
The best in-store mobile tools are highly relevant to today’s consumers and add value to shopping experiences. For instance, brands like Zara and Sephora have apps that are integrated with loyalty programmes. The next wave of apps should provide a meaningful and personalized addition to the in-store experience.
Create experiences that extend beyond stores
Products and services that add value even after a customer has left the store often leave a lasting impact. Apart from introducing an app, for instance, Sephora’s digital tools, in-store education events, and Beauty Insider Program let shoppers develop a set of information usable anywhere within the Sephora ecosystem. Adidas too has experimented with digital tools globally and allows its customers to track their running habits outside the store.
For the millennials who want the product to reflect their personality, customization of a product plays a key role in building brand loyalty. Whether it’s creating pieces from the scratch in the store or designing a product in the style preference of a customer or making unique products for each individual customer, personalization can take brand loyalty in customers to the next level. Brands like Levi’s, Adidas and Nike have all turned to customization to appeal to the new age buyers.
Functionalities that can sell brand experience
While this model may not be practical for every brand or every store, making it easier for people to get the product they want is a trick that cannot go wrong. The best way to engage customers within the store is to successfully balance brand immersion with functional reasons and increase the time a customer spends in the store. It could be a game arena, a lounge, a café or just a wi-fi zone, make sure a customer is engaged in the right way at a store.