The retail industry is being reinvented as customers change habits faster than ever before. It is vital to prepare now for the changes to come and to understand how to create the best in-store experience.
1. REPRESENT THE CORE VALUES OF THE RETAILER
You have to represent the core values of the retailer in the location in every aspect. For example at Harrods the new Roastery was opened in its famous food halls. You can blend your own tea there and roast your own coffee.
In the Swedish city of Eskilstuna 70 miles west of Stockholm, the ReTuna Aterbruksgalleria mall looks like any other shopping centre. For all intents and purposes it is, except for one notable difference – nothing on sale is new.
ReTuna is the world’s first recycling mall, dedicated to repaired, recycled and upcycled goods. Rather than open an additional recycling centre, Eskilstuna officials saw an opportunity to create a commercial entity that contributes to sustainable living. While ReTuna was opened for environmental reasons, it’s now being looked to as a pioneering model for combating one of retail’s biggest challenges – waste.
At ReTuna, the founders want to demonstrate that combating waste can be commercially viable.
“We want to save the planet and make money out of it,” says Ms Bergstrom.
2. ALL ABOUT SERVICE AND CUSTOMIZATION
Offline players have to compete on beautiful interiors, enjoyable live events and ever-changing product rangers and layouts. You can also offer free home delivery.
Bookstore and video rental chain Tsutaya has opened a 24-hour space dedicated to relaxation activities, from reading to napping.
The six-floor Book Apartment features a variety of spaces for customers to while away the hours. Beyond the usual café-cum-retail space that has become mainstream in retail in recent years, the Book Apartment also has private relaxation booths, nap rooms, a powder room, showers and a co-working space with computers and iPads available to work from for a fee that starts hourly. There is also a sake bar in the basement.
3. INNOVATION, PERFORMANCE AND ENGAGEMENT
You go to Nike Town in London, get your kit and engage with the local running community.
Farfetch is developing “store of the future” technology that has functionality including the ability to register and memorise on devices the products a customer has tried, touched or even looked at in-store.
Described as “New York’s coolest concept store”, STORY is ripping up the rule book. It entirely reinvents itself every three to eight weeks, offering community-focused retail experiences. Combining retail and media into one concept space, it tells stories through merchandise and events then sells spaces to sponsors or advertisers, much in the same way as a magazine.
In September, the store ran Beauty STORY in partnership with Coty, which featured mass-market brands, such as Covergirl, Clairol, Rimmel and Sally Hansen, alongside prestige brands, including ByRedo and Diptyque, all under one roof. Disrupting the way beauty retail is traditionally experienced, it organised product by “how people live”, rather than price point, demographic or category.
Coty products were not for sale, but they could be acquired for social currency. Customers were able to use the Array 3D photo experience if they wanted to acquire a Covergirl product or tweet at the Vengo social vending machine for a Rimmel matte lip gloss. However, all other products from Diptyque and Dr Colbert to Heyday facials were for sale.
The activity generated more than 100 million social impressions, with 84 per cent of all customers engaging with at least one of the five Coty interactive in-store experiences.
4. PRODUCT EXPERIENCE IS IMPORTANT
What’s important is the product experience and that can only happen in-store.
Art Haus a multi-brand concept store marrying art, design and fashion. On the walls of the store you can find an unusual artworks that have even caught the attention of the city’s collectors. Katherine Liu the owner of the shop supposing that shops with curated offering give a chance to bricks-and-mortar retailers. Customers of the store like to experience well-designed interior and feel the products in-store.
5. SHOPS MIGHT BE SMALLER BUT THE QUALITY IS HIGHER
Because products are purchasable on different channels, shop sizes are shrinking too. At Nike Town you have your foot screened and analyzed, you try on shoes but you probably won’t be walking home with them; they get customized and sent to you. Shops might be smaller but the quality is higher.
By 2022, analysts estimate that 1 out of every 4 malls in the U.S. could be out of business, victims of changing tastes, a widening wealth gap and the embrace of online shopping for everything from socks to swing sets.
Malls were designed for leisure, abundance, ambling. You parked and planned to spend some time. Today, much of that time has been given over to busier lives and second jobs and apps that let you swipe right instead of haunt the food court.
The lives of consumers have changed irredeemably and it is time retailers followed suit. Evolving from managing the room to managing a total in-store experience. With an increasing number of retailers to choose from, consumers’ expectations are growing. They want and expect personalised, memorable experiences, and will increasingly remember the experience, not the product.