Beat the Online Shopping Mentality with Consumer Experience

June 9, 2014 | By: Megan Breinig | 3 min read

It's 3 days before your mother’s birthday. There is a nice coat that you know she’s been dying to have. You live right down the street from a shopping mall, but you know you can find the coat for sale online…and look it’s 50% off!

According to a recent Mintel report 36% of consumers admit to doing more online shopping in 2014. The conveniences of shopping from home accompanied by discounts are potentially detrimental trials that face many retail outlets today. To combat the stay-at-home/stay-online mentality, retailers, restaurants and entertainment venues are taking steps toward improving the in-store consumer experience, to avoid becoming relatively empty brick-and-mortar showrooms. Below we’ve shared some tips and examples of outlets that recognized this online drive and delivered some creative and effective in store alternatives to better consumer experience.

1.    Extend offers beyond mere retail, and act as a venue, not just a shop

One option is to pursue brand extension – offering more reasons to visit and making it easier for consumers to do so – and for longer periods. For instance, France’s Carrefour Planet supermarket completely re-invented the traditional retailing space with a hairdressing salon, a nursery and live cooking lessons, making it easier and more productive to linger in-store. After all, consumers can only crunch numbers or shuffle through fluorescent-lit discount warehouses for so long.

consumer experience

Apple learned years ago, that retail outlets are meant to be interactive galleries of cool. They counteracted the evolving status that tech stores are showrooms, where people go to check out the product in person before they buy it for cheaper online. They did this by creating full-service emporiums where consumers can check out the latest tech, get in-house tech support for their current products, and surf the web for free surrounded by great costumer service.

2.    Present positive alternatives to price promotions

Widespread corporate chains have satisfied many consumer desires by offering better deals, but they’ve also left people craving restaurant and retail experiences with a touch of uniqueness. Consumers are seeking experiences that stand out from, rather than blend in with the rest.

Mintel’s Menu Flavors UK January 2014 report found that over a third of diners (35%) say that they are always looking to try dishes they haven’t had before, signaling the ongoing key role of menu development in maintaining diners’ interest. Some restaurants, like Seasons 52, have found success in this by offering seasonal menus that change weekly. Others have decided to make their in-house experience unique based on one single and popular specialty, such as The Melting Pot (a fondue restaurant) or In-N-Out, a fast food burger restaurant that offers three main food items: Cheeseburgers, hamburgers, and fries.

From a retail perspective, some stores like IKEA use in store showrooms to display all of their furniture and products. They then reduce prices by offering people the option to assemble the furniture themselves. Having company issued help is still an option, however it bumps the price up to what many other retail stores are charging.

3. Combine high-tech efficiency and interaction with genuine customer service

Online and in-store shopping need not be rivals. Integration is key. Many grocery stores provide online shopping and delivery options for their costumers who would prefer to avoid waiting in long checkout lines. Safeway even created an IPhone app to make their online shopping experience more accessible to the on-the-go consumer.

Today, more and more businesses are updating their storefronts with digital technology to attract more consumers to pay them a visit. By placing photo booths in fitting rooms, Karl Lagerfeld’s store embraces and supports a particular aspect of many shoppers’ lives: sharing photos on social media. Lagerfeld actually installed a photo booth in the dressing room of his new store that enables shoppers to snap selfies and directly share them to their social media feed.

Integration and Branding are the Key

Online shopping is a growing trend, but that doesn’t mean that in store shopping outlets are in route for extinction. By implementing new and creative strategies to better in store experience through technology integration and branding the potential for success is greater than ever. Consumers want new and unique. It’s sink or swim time.

What are some cool ideas that you would like to see brands implement to better your consumer experience? Please share your thoughts below.

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