In the recent past, it was hard to get overly excited over the standard retail shopping experience. But with the rise of online shopping, brick and mortar locations have been forced to adapt or crumble. If they wanted to survive, they had to shift the shopping paradigm. They did so by implementing cutting-edge technology in omnichannel commerce and novel in-store customer experience strategies.
Take a deeper look at these five retailers that found unique ways to not only survive but thrive. Through these examples, retailers can gauge first-hand what they need to do to crush the in-store experience game and increase foot traffic.
Let’s find out how to wow customers.
What Is The In-Store Experience and Why Does it Matter?
The in-store experience is much more than to simply increase customers in the retail store. It’s about how the consumer interacts with both it and the employees. It’s the retailer’s opportunity to convey the brand’s identity, values, and stories, whether it be subliminal or written on the walls.
Simply put, the in-store experience is a central component of branding, marketing, and overall reputation. Together, these determine the success of a business. Identifying the key factors these top five retailers implemented to crush the in-store experience game ensures retailers know exactly what to incorporate into the store experience.
What Do All These Retailers Have in Common?
Tech, tech, and more tech. Okay, seriously: technology plays a huge role in what these businesses have done to succeed. However, their tech isn’t just fancy bells and whistles but effective ways to make a customer’s time in the retail store pleasant and memorable.
The retailers crushing the in-store experience share these factors in common:
- Experimental ideas
- Implementing augmented and virtual reality
- Seamless customer-shopping experience
- Digital Sampling
- Bluetooth system technology
Generally, these implementations surround improving staff efficiency by providing novel ways to use retail innovation to make in-store shopping seamless. Plus, the added technologies add a certain spice of life into the equation for a great shopping experience. Do it right, and customers will be bragging to their friends about it.
Retailers That Crush the In-Store Experience Game
Ranked in no particular order, these 5 retailers are crushing the in-store shopping game:
- Macy’s – Since 2014, Macy’s and other retailers have been implementing this new tech, which utilizes customer apps to create a more seamless online-to-in-store shopping experience.
With the help of the Bluetooth beacon systems, customers can log onto their Macy’s app and request to see a store clerk, find new discounts and coupons, more easily locate items, and access customer service they’d otherwise have to seek out.
Imagine this: someone walks by a shoe rack and a notification lets them know they are 20% off. It might sound strange, but according to Swirl Network Inc., over 70% of shoppers say beacon-triggered content increased their likely-hood to purchase in-store.
- Lowe’s & Orchard Supply Hardware – In San Jose, science fiction movies are coming to life with the OSHbot at Lowes. This robotic employee utilizes facial recognition technology to identify human customers and promptly asks them if they need help finding anything in the store.
With a large screen for a ‘face,’ the OSHBot answers questions by displaying the relevant information. Also, the android guides consumers to the product, using the same navigation technology found in self-driving cars. It can even scan shelves to find items that are out of place. If customers are to talk about their trip to the store, having a robotic employee is a sure-fire way to stir that conversation.
- Apple – It’s impossible to compile a list about the in-store shopping experience and not mention Apple.
Although the brand tries to convey a relaxed and friendly vibe, Apple has implemented new ways to invigorate customers. Since 2017, Apple has incorporated “Today at Apple,” an educational program of creative sessions led by informed team members. With other ‘Genius’ and ‘Creative Pro’ retail roles, Apple lets customers know that it’s a cool place to shop, learn, and work. Empowering their customers and their employees are just one of the key standards that set Apple apart in crushing the in-store experience game.
- Sephora – Sephora is one of the most visited stores today. And now, with their implementation of augmented reality mirrors, Sephora is once again at the forefront of the beauty conversation. Using VR tech and high-quality imaging, patrons can now experiment with new looks and makeup routines without ever having to apply makeup physically.
Their implementation of artificial intelligence and virtual reality into digital sampling provides Sephora customers with an in-store experience only previously seen in the movies. It’s a fun and convenient feature that improves the shopping experience and sells the product.
- Dick’s Sporting Goods – As the premier major national sporting goods store in the country, Dick’s Sporting Goods deals with hundreds of thousands of weekly orders. The number of sporting goods and products shipped across the country means countless transactions and couriers facilitating deliveries throughout their physical stores, but they maintain a seamless operation thanks to the Parcel Pending smart locker solution.
These smart lockers ensure the in-store experience is uncompromised by the sheer amount of inventory imported and exported. Sometimes the in-store shopping experience is about what the customers don’t see. And in this case, smart lockers free up employees to focus on customers rather than sorting deliveries or shipments.
The Future of the In-Store Experience
The future of the in-store experience will always trend towards pushing boundaries and creating efficiencies. Whether it be smart lockers or VR mirrors, there are little things stores can do that make a big impact. So, look for ways in 2020 retail trends that will wow customers and provide them value in order to crush the in-store experience game.
- HubSpot. 7 Innovating Ways Retailers are Using Beacon Technology. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/beacon-technology
- Think Mobile. Augmented Reality in Retail. https://thinkmobiles.com/blog/augmented-reality-retail/
- HBR.org. A Study of 46,000 Shoppers ShowsThat Omnichannel Retailing Works. https://hbr.org/2017/01/a-study-of-46000-shoppers-shows-that-omnichannel-retailing-works
- Retail Dive. Sephora Augmented Reality Mirror Reflects Sales Potential of Digital Sampling. https://www.retaildive.com/ex/mobilecommercedaily/sephora-reflects-on-cosmetic-sampling-trend-with-augmented-reality-mirror
- Fast Company. What the Lowe’s Robot Will Do for you and the Future of Retail. https://www.fastcompany.com/3056640/what-the-lowes-robot-will-do-for-you-and-the-future-of-retail