Drawing key insights from our recent event with Kate Nightingale, founder of Style Psychology Ltd, we share the top
twelve learning’s about how brands and businesses can develop their in-store customer experience for retail success.
1. YOUR BRAND IN FOCUS
It is not enough for a store to be just a place where shoppers view and buy products anymore. You need to convey to customers the essence of your brand, what you stand for and importantly how this relates to their lifestyle. Whilst keeping the message consistent. Alessandro Michele, the new creative director at Gucci has revolutionised the label and their brand vision. This brand essence permeated throughout their entire culture- from ad campaigns to a store environments; all outputs are heavily influenced by the new style aesthetic & vision.
2. TREAT YOUR CUSTOMER LIKE A FRIEND
Consumers like to humanise and project human characteristics and qualities onto both inanimate and animate objects. Retailers must recognise this and look at the relationship between customer and brand to work out what kind of friend they want to be – your tone dictating whether you are the old reliable friend, the up to date on trends friend, the fun friend, the friend in need etc. Finding the right tone and brand persona can help build authentic connections with customers, increasing brand loyalty and advocacy.
3. CHOICE IS KING
We are now living in an age where at the click of a mouse thousands of search results can be found on any one topic at any time. It is no coincidence that consumers are more informed than ever before about their buying choices. With expectations raised higher it is becoming important to create customer experiences that can be adaptable. Blow Ltd is pioneering the beauty experience; you can book via an App your unique treatment/ hair styling package either in salon or at home by your choice of stylist.
4. PERSONALISATION 2.0
Many stores and brands are already offering personalised products to drive sales and brand awareness, but what
we will see in the future is the personalisation of the customer journey. Offering customers’ unique experiences and events in-store not only increases engagement but it also if done well will set the foundations for a longer lasting
5. COLLABORATION & CO-CREATION
Collaboration and co-creation are by no means new, with the likes of H&M and couture fashion houses, or Nike and Premier League football kits. But what we are seeing a shift in is the number of brands who are allowing consumers to co-create and collaborate with retail environments/brands themselves. Studies have shown that this kind of relationship has resulted in increased level of brand attachment and positively influences the amount of money spent, the frequency of store visits and the likelihood to recommend to a friend.
6. SENSORY EXPERIENCES AND ENVIRONMENTS
The more tactile, sensory and visually stimulating the retail environment, the more customers engage with and crucially remember it. By adding visual, sound, texture and scent elements into your retail environment you can transform a customers shopping experience. This being said it is important that all of the sensory elements are aligned to your message. While a sensory brand in its own right, the Lush flagship on Oxford Street not only plays on these cues but taps into the fun of the brand.
7. INTERACTIVE SPACES MADE HUMAN
Digitally optimised retail environments are now fast becoming the norm, but the struggle that a lot of retailers are facing is how to utilise this amass of technology to develop brand relationships and engagement. The most effective way to use technology in a retail environment is when you construct the illusion of an actual conversation with a brand – done through interactive experiences and spaces that connect with human contact. We recently worked with European fashion retailer Springfield to reimagine their store environment; the aim to connect with a millennial target audience by adding digital elements and use of social media hangouts for a relaxed, communal and unisex vibe to their stores.
8. ORIGIN OBSESSION
Consumers are now more than ever before less concerned by how much an item costs or even what it’s made from – the new key question is ‘Where does it come from and what is its story.’ Brands have to make sure that they are being transparent with their customers about the origins of their products and services, how that product has come to be and its journey from factory to store. Smashburger, a US burger chain that has just launched in the UK places key emphasis on the cooking process, origins of its ingredient and concept, through in store graphics, packaging and its marketing communications.
9. PEOPLE FEED OFF OTHER PEOPLE
There’s a reason why people find going into crammed, bustling stores so stressful – studies have shown that the people around you are the most influential aspect of a retail environment. It is therefore paramount that your retail environment is designed for positive human interaction, whether that is through interactions with sales assistants, or through environments designed to let customers interact with each other without encroaching on each other’s space. Adding this dimension into your retail space adds a layer of personalisation and improves customers overall experience.
10. SETTING THE TONE
Consumers are busier, more stressed and more short of time than ever before – creating spaces that are oasis of calm, serenity and escapism can increase the brand engagement, attraction and time spent in store. It is no accident that places like newly opened health and wellness concept Bhuti combine a tranquil environment with a café and shop too. Promoting the benefits of wellbeing to permeate the whole retail concept.
11. INSPIRING BY DESIGN
It might seem obvious, but customers really appreciate good design. What they appreciate even more is design that helps them with their shopping experience. Merchandising products that visually compliment each other or having a store environment that allows customers to easily piece products or items together has been shown to have a positive affect on sales and browse time.
Spaces and retail environments that are blending fashion, music, food, lifestyle and art are fast becoming the most popular places on the high street. By mixing an edit of different products and areas of interest customers spend more time in store, engage more with their surroundings and product, which can lead to increased frequency of visits. One such place doing this well is artisanal retail chain Urbanista, which brings together casual dining, a café, gallery and store into one space for an international focus and mix of customers.