There’s no denying that the shift to e-commerce in recent years has been a devastating blow to retailers with a reported 15 stores closing a day. It’s not just local businesses, retailers of years gone by have also retreated from brick-and-mortar stores to the world of e-commerce.
A recent survey by The Local Data Company found that people are now preferring to spend their money on experiences, including meals out, entertainment and the gym rather than retail goods including clothes and homewares.
Madeleine Thomson, Retail and Consumer Leader at PwC told The Independent that: “2017 will be a crucial year for retailers. The combination of price inflation on goods and groceries will mean that brand loyalty will play a more significant role than ever. Retailers will need to be increasingly versatile and savvy to attract shoppers who face a squeeze on disposable income in the year ahead.”
Retailers are bracing themselves for a sink or swim environment in the coming years as technology becomes even more prevalent in our everyday lives. But research this year has also found that 72% of online shoppers worldwide consider the brick-and-mortar experience most important when making a purchase and forward-thinking retailers are using this knowledge to not only survive, but thrive.
1. Rebecca Minkoff
Luxury brands are implementing top of the range in-store experiences to maintain the personal and high-class feel in their stores.
US brand, Rebecca Minkoff, is leading the pack by bringing the ease of shopping online in-store, and more specifically, in changing rooms!
Each store has smart mirrors in changing rooms that allow shoppers to browse for other sizes or products that might complement whatever they’re trying on. Smart walls also suggest new styles when people pass by or enter, even allowing customers to order champagne to enjoy while they browse.
This digitally-driven experience is responsible for a large boost in sales with 30% of customers reportedly requesting additional items thanks to the smart mirror recommendations.
Topshop’s flagship London store leads the pack for in-store experience. Not only offering a nail salon, blow dry bar and personal shopping, but also rewarding its loyal customers with one off experiential events.
The latest to hit the headlines was Topshop's Stranger Things 2 immersive experience. In partnership with Netflix and coinciding with Halloween, the event tapped into the cult following of the TV series and included widows that mirrored the set, a season two binging party where loyal customers were invited to watch the whole season in-store.
This in-store experience followed the success of the giant virtual reality water slide that took participants on a digital rollercoaster through Oxford Street. The installation, to celebrate the start of Summer, also included ice cream trucks in-store. Topshop also set up a photo-shoot at the end of the waterslide to capture the experience and drive social buzz.
On top of both experiences keeping customers in-store for longer, they also served as useful marketing tools due to the ‘shareability’ of the experience on social media providing further reach.
3. Ulta Beauty
2016 was a year that many retailers saw a decline in footfall due to the ever growing presence of e-commerce, but American retailer, Ulta Beauty, saw a 23.7% increase in sales, making it one of the fastest-growing beauty retailers. With just under 1000 stores across the United States, the retail experience offered in-store has contributed to their recent success.
Ulta prides itself on being a beauty superstore, offering everything from low budget to prestige items. As well as this, Ulta offers in-store services such as hair, skin and brow treatments, differentiating itself from competitors.
By offering in-store treatments with beauty experts, Ulta has created a spa-like environment, making it a place for customers to spend more time with the guarantee of having a good retail experience, rather than the grab-and-go model of other beauty stores.
Don’t miss your chance to find out how your store can implement new technologies to increase sales and customer engagement and great an unforgettable in-store experience. Find out more in our new eBook.