In order to stay relevant, retail brands now have to provide rich and engaging experiences at every consumer touch-point. This is never more important than when a brand is represented with a store. Described here are three principles that brands should consider and adopt in order to create compelling experiences when representing their brand in a store environment.
Brands have to decide how they want customers to shop in their offering. Due to the ease and simplicity of online shopping, traditional in-store retail models have been left feeling repetitive and antiquated. A store should no longer automatically launch with a traditional retail model, but instead consider a system that is both relevant and complementary to what they offer. There are a number of new and exciting ways that users can shop, whether that is using digital store orders, providing multiple services within the store or an innovative flow and layout that would suit the brand. However it is achieved, brands need to create efficient and interactive ways to shop in order to warrant a store and keep the brand relevant.
A store should be as much of a physical representation of the brand as its products, as a store is a brand in a tangible, three dimensional form. Therefore, when designing a store, one of the most important principles to consider is whether every aspect of the environment has a wealth of brand DNA. From signage, furniture and product, to lighting, staff and atmosphere, every aspect needs to be rich in brand experience, leaving the customer feeling immersed in the brand. This level of consideration is imperative to the retail success of a brand, as how the customer feels, what they see, and what they interact with within a store environment will ultimately affect their opinion on the brand. The store and brand will merge in the customers mind.
When a customer enters a store, they need to leave with something. Previously, this would have been a product, with a high focus on conversion, retailers would look to have the highest percentage of customers as possible leave with at least one unit. However, a shift in focus onto richer experiences and increased benefits from a having a powerful brand, means that ‘traditional’ conversion now has less importance. Users can now browse an offering without leaving their house, meaning that should they decide to use a physical store, it needs to be more compelling, meaningful and relevant than ever before. ‘Modern’ conversion should instead be that stores create a stage for tangible engagements, informative conversations and meaningful customer service — aspects that can’t be achieved from behind a screen.
There are a number of ways in which brands can create this type of conversion; creating a focus on each customer leaving with a valuable piece of information about the brands heritage, a conversation about the spring summer collection and its inspiration, or a changed opinion on the brand in question. Whether this is done through physical engagements and signage or a superior level of service, the most important part is that every customer leaves the store with something they didn’t have when they entered.
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