New brands are springing up in the retail space every day. Those ones that want to stand out and retain their customers must focus on providing a memorable shopping experience.
Layla was one of many retail shoppers who switched to online shopping when the pandemic hit. When asked why she shops online, she quips, “I’m an impulsive buyer. Once my cart is full, completing a purchase takes 15 minutes, tops.”
Thousands of retail shoppers echo Layla’s sentiment. According to a Scandit report, 47% of customers surveyed abhor the long queues in physical stores. In fact, 43% avoid in-store shopping because of limited product availability. Instead, they prefer shopping online, given the quick and frictionless checkout and wide product selection.
43% of customers avoid in-store shopping because of limited product availability
On the other hand, many shoppers still prefer brick-and-mortar stores. They want to try out their items before making a purchase, and receive their goods immediately, alongside the actual physical experience of shopping in a store. This is why after a period of low footfall since 2020, shopper numbers in retail stores have increased in 2022,
With such a wide variation in customer expectations, what makes a good retail experience today?
The buyer's interactions with a retailer, from product discovery to purchase, form the retail experience. Ensuring repeat business by giving customers the best possible shopping experience comes down to five things;
Citadium, a Parisian department store, focuses on providing its customers with various experiential offerings. These range from arcade games and gumball machines to live events. The retailer allows potential buyers to enjoy their time at the retail store, and creates multiple opportunities for distinctive experiences.
Also, it uses a click-and-collect system to drive footfall. This means a buyer can order a product online and collect it from the physical store. All these efforts have largely paid off, and the retail brand currently has an annual turnover of $25.4 million thanks to these efforts.
In 2010, Warby Parker started out as a glasses retailer and shipped products chosen by customers on their website right to their door, so that they could try them on in the comfort of their own home. The retailer has recently implemented augmented reality (AR) into its app, allowing shoppers to try glasses virtually. The app integrates seamlessly with multiple payment modes and provides timely product updates. Also, Warby Parker has a secondary app that allows customers to update their prescription after an in-home eye exam.
Warby Parker goes the extra mile to provide its customers with a convenient and luxurious D2C experience. The brand now has 2.26 million active customers thanks to this approach. And that number is steadily growing.
Lush broke the saturated ethical, low-waste cosmetics market by adopting a no-packaging approach. Customers can use the Lush app inside the store. They can point their phones toward the products and use the in-built AR tool to get product information, ingredients, usage, and application directions.
In 2021, the brand went one step further and revamped its e-commerce experience. They introduced a quicker checkout process, added more payment modes, enabled a live chat facility, and improved search optimization.