Shoppers today are more interested in experience-based shopping rather than the conventional way. They are more comfortable getting the knowledge about their purchases from their friends on social networks or other online sources, rather than store associates. In such an environment, how can stores ensure that the real estate is utilized in providing more value-driven experiences rather than only driving sales? How can store associates ensure shoppers are provided with complete information about product choices to enable them to purchase wisely?
In response to this, retailers are getting proficient in adopting different sources of order capture to create an “endless aisle” experience for shoppers, circumventing the square footage limitations of physical stores, by providing shoppers with access to their full merchandise lines virtually. An omni-channel approach to merchandizing helps retailers create unique in-store experiences, devoting space and resources to generate sales beyond the physical aisle, without worrying about displaying every available color, size or model of a given product in the store. A personalized blend of a virtual store can also ensure a unique, customized shopping experience for each shopping
Shoppers today have multiple choices to shop and seek the best assortment, thanks to e-commerce. Shoppers today need not even step into a physical store to buy what they need. They can instead select the items online and get these items delivered right to their doorsteps. In fact, we have now evolved from a 2-to-3 day home delivery cycle to “same day” delivery options and are even talking about ‘predictive shipping’ for customers.
According to a Nielsen study, shoppers visit physical stores less often than before. But, when they do, they are willing to spend more time and money in-store. In order to adapt to this emerging culture, stores need to evolve from being mere ‘stocking centers’ to ‘experience centers’. A sale per square foot is still a very important metric for the retailer. But retailers are discovering new ways of getting by the smaller square footage and being able to still boost strong sales per square foot.
Retailers are in the process of constantly innovating and implementing capabilities to recognize shoppers, such as beacons, as they enter the store, to offer personalized recommendations to them, and following up with compelling offers. This can be achieved by accurately tracking their shopping behavior during the time they spend in a store and then determining their shopping patterns.
Wi-Fi capability in stores is not only important for shoppers but also for retailers as they can engage shoppers beyond the physical walls in a store. Shoppers can explore a virtual store within a physical store by using a 4D kiosk, allowing them to browse through all the products in a store all while remaining in the comfort of their own home, making the whole process must faster and easier.
These shopper engagement experiences can also be customized based on a shopper’s past purchase patterns. The whole experience of adding these items to the cart and checking out through the kiosk makes it very exciting and engaging for shoppers.
Stores need to serve as a destination to augment the overall brand experience.