With stores reopening after the pandemic, retailers must create an inviting in-store experience for their customers. In the past year we saw online shopping surge due to store closures. According to Digital Commerce 360, “online retail sales increased 32.4% year over year in 2020 and are up 39% in Q1 2021.” In order to remain competitive with e-commerce, retailers should offer their customers a grand and memorable reopening.
Below we highlight three ways to create an inviting in-store experience.
#1 Create a Welcoming Environment
Environment and experience are everything when it comes to shopping in stores. Many people were forced to shop online during the pandemic and we expect many people will continue to do so. With that in mind, retailers must create welcoming, memorable experiences for their shoppers to encourage them to come back.
The environment in the store includes everything from the employees who greet and interact with customers, to the way the store is merchandised, to the signage, the promotions, and the personalized touches. Each of these play an important role in how shoppers perceive and remember the store. The little details that may not seem like much could be what determines whether or not a shopper will return. These experiences could be something small like a meaningful conversation a shopper had with a salesperson or a special discount that was offered in store. According to Total Retail, “if retailers give consumers the positive experience they seek, 90 percent of them will return again.”
#2 Checkout Should be Quick and Touch-Free
As customers return to the store, they expect a hassle-free checkout experience. They may even prefer minimal contact with people in order to feel safe while shopping. Many customers are searching for products online first before even entering a store. Upon arrival, they may spend minimal time browsing and instead go directly for the item they have in mind. Once shoppers find what they’re looking for, they’ll be ready to check out and be on their way.
Retailers can prepare for this by adding additional Point of Sale (POS) systems to the store – in particular, self-checkouts and mobile devices or tablets that can be used to check out a customer anywhere in the store via touch-free payments. This eliminates checkout lines and close contact with other shoppers while waiting in line, as well as the need to physically touch the POS system.
#3 Offer a Personalized Omnichannel Experience
Another way for retailers to create an inviting in-store experience is through personalized omnichannel experiences. Personalization when shopping online is extremely important and, if retailers want to encourage customers to shop in-store, they’ll have to create those same experiences in person. According to the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), “100 percent of the top-25 retailers cited omnichannel personalization as a top five priority, but only 15 percent of retailers have fully implemented personalization across all channels.”
Shoppers should feel a familiarity between an online shop and a brick and mortar store. The personalized experiences they receive online should be replicated when shopping in stores. One way to do this is through the implementation of a size advisor, like Fit Finder. Many retailers offer Fit Finder online and some have started to incorporate our solution into their brick and mortar stores. The benefit of setting up Fit Finder in-store is shoppers will be able to find their size quickly and easily without the hassle of fitting room queues or physically trying on an item.
The Future of Brick and Mortar
The future of brick and mortar will look very different from what we knew just a couple of years ago. In order for retailers to succeed in this new landscape, they must put the customer’s wants and needs first. To stay ahead of the competitive curve, retailers need to get creative with their in-store offerings and find ways to keep their customers engaged and eager to return.
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