The Future of Retail: Emotion, Experience & Empowerment

The content from IRDC was so inspiring we just had to share more! For part one of our key takeaways check out our previous blog here.

1. Emotions are what turn us on in retail

Ed King, VP, Strategy and Laura Davis-Taylor, EVP of Customer Experience from MaxMedia lead a fantastic discussion on Bringing Analog, Digital, Sensory and Sound Together for Emotional Retail.” Extending on the idea of in-store experience, they spoke to how our senses lead to emotions and those emotions are what lead to the purchase. 

Ask yourself the question, how many goosebumps per square foot are you generating? Tweet: Ask yourself the question, how many goosebumps per square foot are you generating? @iqmetrix

Pirch, a fixture and appliance retailer, is one of the greatest examples. They’ve focused on the human senses and giving back to the customer. Jeffery Sears, CEO of Pirch, reiterated that humanity is the new luxury. He advised the crowd it’s not about the washer and dryer, it’s about the baby blanket that comes out if it. Or the smell of fresh chocolate chip cookies from the oven.

2. The in-store stage must support the experience

Millennials are the largest generation right now and they are largely focused on experiences. An experience has become the product that brands and retailers need to sell. Jean-Christophe Bedos, President, and CEO at Birks Group Inc and Erin Halpin, Retail Project Manager of Aedifica presented on their strategy to tap into this group as they reach adulthood and their interests and values change.

Birks, a heritage jewelry brand, is building out a new flagship location. They realized it’s easy for brands and retailers to say they want to engage with younger generations, but it came at the risk of losing themselves. They wanted to create a sense of community and personalized service allowing millennials to interact with their product.

They wanted to build such an experience that other brands wouldn’t be able to step into their store and sell their products instead.

They decided the best way was not to protect their heritage values, but to share them. Their goal was to be genuine and authentic with humans. They’ve worked to create a store that combines legacy, craftsmanship, fine details, natural elements, technology and communal areas based on interests and needs.

3. It’s not about technology unless you’re selling it.

We don’t expect you to be in the technology business. Just be in the business of making and selling a great product! Caroline Poirier, Design Director at Aldo spoke on a panel regarding their endless shelf pilot and testing of in-store technology.

In Aldo’s experience, they found people are so used to trying things on, like shoes, and in-store was how to solve that friction point. They decided to use technology in a way that would get their customers to the stage of trying on items faster and more easily.

Even Apple understands you still need a ton of associates to create a positive experience.

It’s not technology driven, it’s still product driven. What Aldo has done is empowered sales associates with the technology. Caroline also encouraged fellow retailers and brands to fail fast/​learn fast. We are no longer in a state of retail where you can build a flagship store and let it be for five years. It’s important to create test stores that are marketing and omnichannel driven with the purpose of evolving.

At IRDC it was very clear retail is no longer about channels. It’s about consistently meeting your customer’s expectations and delighting them throughout the experience.

Want more information on how to evolve your in-store experience? Check out our whitepaper titled, Best Practices for Bringing Endless Aisle into Your Retail Strategy.’

So many shoppers still prefer a physical shopping experience but their expectations are different. It’s not at all that physical brick-and-mortar business is dying, it’s that we’re doing it wrong. Retailers should aim to model their stores after the human experience.