The dawn of technology has transformed the traditional business into a ‘Phygital’ experience. The term combines physical and digital modes with in-built metrics to comprehend customer needs and engage with them. Emerging technologies like AR, VR, Artificial intelligence, IoT, cloud platforms etc. take into consideration multiple consumer interactions through digital platforms in the form of reviews and suggestions to make in-store digitization possible and successful. This is a gift of technology to mankind. It serves as a backbone to development. Technology has incentivized exponentially and is evolving with each passing day.
Experiential retail is one such output of technology which aims to create a memorable visit for their customers. This allow the retailers to show that they recognize their customers on a personal level and can connect with them in a more immersive manner. By connecting with the consumers at all possible touch points, the technologies that promote experiential retail also enable the retailers to influence consumer behavior.
Experiential retail is immersive and shareable in nature, providing the consumers with a chance to register their feedback with the brands. The drastic change in technology has changed the overall experience of the customers and the way we shop forever. Now we can buy anything we want, wherever we want with just a click of a button. Having said that, offline retail still enjoys a benefit of having a facetime with the consumers. This allows greater opportunity to capture the interest and enter the consideration set of the consumers.
Since offline retail is experimental to a fairly large extent, below are few factors to consider if brands want to create alluring experiences in the physical stores.
1. Technology: Augmented reality and virtual reality are some of the trending tools in experiential retail. They make the experience which can not be replicated online or elsewhere making it exciting and unique for every customer.
Imagine walking into a retail store to shop for fashion products like clothes or jewelry and a Virtual Assistant welcoming you with fashion advice to suit your taste and personality. You feed your information and basic fashion likes and a dummy look is created for you. This experience is unique and captivating because it would enhance the brand retention in the minds of the consumer along with creating a buzz in the market about the brand.
2. Engagement: Engaging with the customers is a very vital factor that keeps the customers entertained and for doing this, retailers create different aspects which help them to connect with their loyal customers. Friendly and knowledgeable staff is the key to keep the customers engaged.
The biggest example here is individual shopping experts who accompany shoppers in different stores. A well trained staff with an in-depth understanding of customer needs helps in building a loyal customer pyramid.
3. Exclusivity: Today’s customers have a very short attention span and to counter that retailers are trying to come up with experiences that attracts the attention of the customer. Limited edition sales, pop-up stores are some of the examples that keeps the customers from getting bored.
Technology brands and beauty brands benefit from this trend where they come with temporary pop-up stores as small kiosks in a prime location of malls. These stores provide freebies and so attract consumer footfall. This is an activity that gets instant hits on Social Media as a marketing gimmick and also serves the brand objective of reaching masses.
Such technologies have completely changed the format of a retail store. Retail stores have started leveraging experiences to customers rather than products. Customers now look for a combination of both entertainment and retail. The customer now expects the store to know their likes and dislikes and provide them a personalized experience.
The one thing that always tops a mind of the retailer is the customer loyalty and with the dynamic change in the competition and on-demand economy, it has become very difficult to secure it.
The article has been penned down by Vishwas Shringi, Founder, Voylla.