Physical stores are still popular with 81% of shoppers1 visiting brick and mortar stores to discover and/or try new products. The main reasons for choosing physical stores are the possibility of handling the product (56%2) and/or trying before purchasing (55%2).
The in-store experience is also essential with 90% of shoppers3 saying they are more likely to return to a store because the experience was positive and 61%3 prepared to buy for the same reason.
Check out our 5 essential tips for creating an in-store customer experience and meeting customer expectations.
Customize customer relations
Shoppers often have a history with a brand (previous purchases, loyalty program, Newsletter subscription…) and 56% of them4 want to be recognized as soon as they arrive in the store. They also expect a customized experience (30%5) and insightful recommendations (30%5).
To satisfy this need for customization, you need to build a profile for each customer by merging their online and offline data: purchasing history, email exchanges, payment methods used… You should also provide store workers with the technology required to access this data easily in the store. For example, Nike6 provides their sellers with tablets containing all the data they need to make customized recommendations and create a true connection with their shoppers.
With the development of digital, shoppers have adopted new purchasing behaviors with 59% of them7 researching online before entering a physical store to buy a product (webrooming7). To transform these visits into real selling opportunities, you need to promote the in-store product offer.
For example, a Point-of-purchase or POP display8 enables you to highlight a specific product offer and to encourage shoppers to pick up additional products before heading for the check-out. This strategy can be temporary, semi-temporary or permanent and is a means of increasing sales with 62% of shoppers1 buying more than they had intended when they first entered the store.
Digitalize your points of sale
Shoppers expect stores to be equipped with interactive solutions (terminals, tables, screens…) to guide them through their shopping journey with 78% of shoppers9 saying they would appreciate it and 66%9 having already used interactive terminals.
These terminals are becoming essential and provide shoppers with a user-friendly means of finding information while in the store: browse the brand's product catalog, check a product's availability, find a price…
If a shopper can't find a specific article, they could use the terminal to order it without having to go through check-out. Operational 24/7, interactive terminals enable you to improve your in-store shopping experience, inform shoppers better and boost your sales10.
Drawing millennials into physical stores is a real challenge with the majority (67%11) of them preferring to buy through digital channels and spending more time online searching for the ideal product (6 hours11) than other shoppers (4 hours11).
To attract millennials, brands must follow the latest trends and try to create in-store customer experiences using the very latest technologies. One example is Urban Outfitters12 who have created dedicated spaces in several of their shops (restaurants, bars, cafés…) to keep millennials in their stores for longer and increase their brand engagement.
Some brands are also allowing influencers to use their stores as a background for their stories and/or photos (content creation studio13). This is one strategy for getting high quality contents for their social networks and attracting more millennials with 83% of them14 finding this content useful in their decision to buy.
Shoppers expect brands to provide innovative experiences using new technologies: 71% of shoppers15 prefer to buy in-store through a Virtual Reality (VR) experience and 40%16 are prepared to pay more for a product they've tested through VR.
To surpass their expectations, brands must stay abreast of the latest technologies used in stores. They also need to choose the appropriate technologies that help the shopper to better understand the product. For example, Decathlon17 provides VR headsets so that customers can check out the features of their Quechua tents in specific contexts (mountain, forest or desert). To make sure they make the right choice they could even adjust the light, weather conditions (rain and wind) and compare the product with other models on sale.
To sum up, when a shopper makes the effort to visit a store, they want their shopping experience to be special and this means that brands need to follow the latest trends, be aware of the latest points of sale technologies and invest in the latest equipment and technologies: tablets, Virtual Reality (VR) technologies, interactive terminals… They also need a thorough understanding of the expectations of their customers.
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8 Damen, A. D. (2021, November 30). Point of Purchase Displays : How Retailers Can Use POP Marketing to Increase Sales. shopify.com.
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11 Osman, M. O. (2021, June 10). Ecommerce Statistics for 2021 – Chatbots, Voice, Omni-Channel Marketing. kinsta.com.
12 Spivey, S. S. (2016, July 29). Consumers have spoken : 2016 is the year of “webrooming”. martech.org.
13 Moore, K. M. (2021, March 17). When Instagram Meets Real Life : Transforming Stores into Content Studios. shopify.com.
14 Bump, P. B. (2020, April 15). 34 Millennial Stats That Marketers Need to Know. blog.hubspot.com.
15 Bump, P. B. (2020b, May 21). 21 Interactive Content Stats That Marketers Need to Know in 2020. blog.hubspot.com.
16 Sheehan, A. S. (2021, February 21). How These Retailers Use Augmented Reality to Enhance the Customer Experience. shopify.com.
17 La réalité virtuelle chez Decathlon avec Valtech. (2017, November 16). business.ladn.eu.