Enhancing the customer experience of in-store purchasing - Expanding the shopping experience with rich product data
The headlines would have us believe that in-store shopping is in terminal decline. The reality, however, couldn’t be further from the truth…
Certainly, there are lots of things your customers love about your online store; not least, the ability to shop 24/7, to save time (and, of course, to avoid the crowds and check out lines!).
That said, KPMG found that the number one reason why consumers would head out to a physical store rather than doing everything online is to see, feel and experience the product in person. No matter how hard you may try, there are certain aspects of the shopping experience that simply cannot be replicated online.
As Deloitte and others have pointed out, the winners in retail are those brands who think smart with their physical stores. No longer are they primarily places to transact (after all, it’s never going to be quicker and easier than clicking the buy button online!).
Instead, a compelling in-store experience increasingly comprises two important elements: experience and insight.
- Your aim is to offer your customers the opportunity to experience your brand and your products in a way that can’t be achieved elsewhere; an experience that keeps them coming back for more.
- The insight element is linked to this concept of rich product data. In other words, you are aiming to offer customers something that goes far beyond the information you have on your online product description page. Instead, you are presenting product data in a way that’s super-relevant and personalised.
In all of this, you are taking those elements that your physical stores do best (the “touchy, feely” parts of the buying process) - and supercharging them. Here’s a taste of how it’s done…
Expert advisors on hand
When a customer makes the effort to come and see your product range ‘in the flesh’, they will likely be looking for a level of useful information that goes over and above the product data you have online.
In this context, your sales staff are your brand experts. To enable them to field highly specific questions, they’ll need access to a knowledge bank. Just bear in mind that even the greatest customer service champions cannot be expected to remember absolutely everything! Equipping them with a tablet with full access to your full product information portal can help them deal with customer queries swiftly and helpfully.
Show - don’t just tell
To combine insight with a great customer experience, consider reimagining your store as an arena for viewing your products in context - and being used in a way they were designed to be used. Cooking displays for homeware, catwalk displays, physical challenges for leisure products: these cah all showcase your product range at their best.
As an example, augmented reality app experts, ModiFace recently launched a mirror which enables hoppers to virtually ‘try on’ different combinations of makeup in store. Similar technologies exist of apparel. This type of approach capitalises on what physical stores do best - while removing the hassle of having to line up for the change room!
Don’t be afraid to experiment
From one-off events, through to the best ways to display your in-store video display boards, what works for one brand definitely isn’t a universal rule. What’s more, you may find that what works for you varies from store to store. It’s definitely worth seeking input and ideas from managers at a local level.
With a brand portal and clear ‘rule book’ for your people to follow, you can give them the freedom to innovate without diluting your central brand message.