Many businesses are finding that consumers are loyal to the combination of brick-and-mortar and the pure-play digital shopping experience as a consequence of design at the point of interface.
Today's brick-and-mortar retailers are facing an uphill battle with rising staff costs, rents, business rates and fluctuating tariffs on goods.
The pure-play digital retailers are also vulnerable to the shifting sands of the economy within the marketplace. When consumer shopping behaviour is continuously changing, and among larger retailers like mass merchants, wholesalers or grocery chains, there is fierce competition for customer loyalty.
A new way of measuring how well an organization treats its staff and customers whose lives it affects and how well it generates relationships worthy of loyalty is the Net Promoter Score. This is a key metric for assessing the importance of customer loyalty.
Acquiring new customers costs approximately 5 to 25 times more than retaining existing customers. So, your marketing attention should be directed at turning new customers into loyal customers. This is where you will make the highest return on investment and maintain this return for the long term, making customer loyalty an important part of any retail store's marketing strategy.
When shoppers can find the products they want almost anywhere, how can retailers on and off-line differentiate? Many are finding that consumers are more loyal to the overall design environment of the shopping experience, not the products themselves. Which is where pure-play and traditional brick-and-mortar overlap.
The term "customer experience or retailtainment" are terms that get used a lot in the retail industry and for good reason. The influencers on Youtube, like Cardi B, provide the pure-play retailer Fashion Nova with a means to execute retailtainment for the consumer audience choosing to follow the brand.
When the American pure-play fashion business "Shein" contacted us about the design of their new brick-and-mortar portfolio, the management team were wanting to open stores in the high street, a task never before undertaken and it became clear they had no experience in visual merchandising their range of products in the store environment. So we suggested it is imperative for today's retailers to provide a positive, seamless, end-to-end shopping experience, meaning that the digital and physical realms should be integrated, with a close understanding of the customer at every touchpoint. This is easier said than done, but there are several ways to improve the customer experience and keep shoppers returning.
Bonobos, the online pure-play digital menswear and accessories retailer opened its first guide shop in 2012. It has gone on to open multiple stores across North America, whilst still maintaining a strong online presence.
In an effort to bring the convenience and in-store efficiency of online shopping into the brick-and-mortar experience, many retailers have changed the way they design and run their stores.
Loyalty programs incentivize purchasing behaviour and engagement, ultimately rewarding customers in different ways for their repeat business. This is achieved through 1. In-store efficiencies 2. Loyalty programs and 3. Personalization
Personalization must be a core pillar across the entire shopping journey. Successful personalization requires the right data, and while many retailers are investing, challenges remain.
Online and In-store
Online shopping is easy and convenient. The major downside is the inability to see, feel, smell and try a product before purchase. In an effort to bring the convenience and efficiency of online shopping into the brick-and-mortar experience, many retailers have changed the way they design and operate their stores.
Recent research found that nearly half of shoppers believe that it is important for retailers to provide digital in-store experiences like self-checkout, online ordering, click-and-collect and mobile offers.
The common theme: they make shopping easier and quicker.
Perhaps most interesting is how the design of today's physical store is evolving. This where the retail design consultant can help and it often takes the form of smaller layouts, convenient visual merchandising displays, and technology-inspired interfaces. For example, the American retailer “Target” has prioritized small concept stores, which are stocked with inventory curated to the local population. John Lewis in the United Kingdom and Nordstrom in the USA build experiences special events and dining into their physical stores for increased engagement. By changing the way they approach the in-store customer experience, retailers can attract shoppers and create more meaningful customer relationships. Nordstrom has introduced the Grill in Mall of America, Salt Lake City, Seattle and NashvilleTennasee.
Without a positive customer experience, it is nearly impossible for retailers to build a devoted customer base. In-store innovations, modern loyalty programs, and personalization are just a few of the ways in which retailers are improving the shopping experience for consumers. Retailers who prioritize convenience, simplicity and design creativity will nurture customer loyalty and keep shoppers returning time and time again.
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