The in-store experience is over, right? Consumers want to buy everything online, don’t they?
The data suggests otherwise. According to a recent CM Council survey ranking influential factors on purchasing decisions, in-store experiences still matter. Among the most important touchpoints that influence purchases are:
- In-store sales associates — ranked second
- In-store promotions — ranked sixth
- In-store displays — ranked eighth
There is also compelling evidence to suggest online tools actually drive in-person sales. Up to 90% of consumers use their phone while they’re physically in store. This mean consumers still value the in-store experience, but want to combine it with online platforms. For retailers who take this insight seriously, they can help the store itself become a powerful sales tool that fits in with the larger marketing strategy.
Focus on experiences, not gimmicks
It would be easy to install a few bells and whistles and claim that the in-store experience has been upgraded. But consumers are looking for experiences that feel unique from beginning to end, not just carnival-barker tricks designed to get them through the door. The most successful retail environments take the traditional sales floor and make it feel immersive, engaging, and one-of-a-kind. AT&T and Verizon are both succeeding at this with their “destination” stores that feature zones to help consumers experience technology based on their lifestyles.
Meet the consumer’s needs
In the past, ads saying “Limited Quantity!” helped get shoppers in-store. But it’s becoming clear that people don’t want the pressure of fighting over the last of an item. Instead, they want to feel supported and helped. Best Buy became one of the stand out retailers this year by avoiding urgent language like ‘sale ends soon’, and instead focusing on advertising their free shipping and financing options — a huge advantage, considering customers were actually shopping in-store.
Other ways to help customers feel special include easy to navigate retail layouts, informative and interactive displays and effective POS systems that expedite checkout — anything that allows the consumer to further customize their experience.
Leverage staff for sales and service
There is an obvious appeal to speaking with an expert before purchasing a product. The quality of in-store staff has a major impact on the quality of the experience overall. When staff have adequate training and support they are able to sell more product while branding a retailer with a reputation for friendly service. That does a lot to set the in person experience apart from anything available online.
Be willing to change
It’s not true that retail is dead, but it’s undeniable that retail is changing. Stores must be willing to renovate the layout and design and implement newer, better technology in order to respond to consumers’ actual wants and needs. Consumers still want to shop in person, but they have a lot of competitors to choose from. The retailer who reflects the tastes and preferences of today’s shoppers stand apart from retailers that are drifting into irrelevance.
Consult the data
What better way is their to figure out what consumers want than to look at their actual behaviors? The combination of digital channels and digital touchpoints empowers retailers to develop a deep understanding of where, when, why, and how consumers actually shop in-store. It’s also beneficial to look at retailers who provide great in-store experiences, even if they aren’t in the wireless industry. You never know when their marketing techniques may inspire your next strategy. These insights are valuable as retailers strive to create an in-store experience that is as effective as it is exciting.
Experience is everything when it comes to creating a positive customer relationship and how a shopper feels while in your store can make all the difference. iQmetrix is developing full 3D store design and operations solution for the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s wireless retailers. Sign up for early access.
Photo Credits: Shutterstock / Sorbis, Shutterstock / Hadrian, Shutterstock / Kwangmoozaa