Building store encounters for experience-driven consumers

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There’s an emerging shopper demographic that doesn’t just want to buy things in retail stores – they also want their chosen brand to provide an array of experiences to help foster ongoing relationships.

Much of this change in attitude has its roots in the growth of online retail and the capacity of the internet to allow consumers to explore, compare and engage with brands ahead of making a purchase. When people arrive in stores these days, their standards have certainly been set very high by the digital world.

Retailers should have no fear, though. They can position themselves suitably for the new type of shopper in multiple ways, aided and abetted by technology that breaks down the digital divide associated with the traditional store.

Choose tech to suit brand and customer

The best retailers and brands will already know what their customers preferences are for products and pricing, but customer-facing in-store technology is still a nascent field for all businesses operating in the sector.

It’s important to have the right array of digital touchpoints and services in a store because, even if different generations want to buy the same products, they choose to engage with brands in their own ways, as new research shows.

Grassfish’s latest market report indicates that younger shoppers are much more responsive to virtual shelf edge displays and gamification technologies than older demographics, and they want to locate items and navigate stores using digital means.

It’s not difficult to understand why this is the case. Growing up in the Google and social media generation, younger shoppers’ lives have been spent using technology to find answers and solve problems – and they want to take this approach to brick-and-mortar shopping.

Customer experience needs people and technology aligned

We’re not proposing a robotic approach to store retailing here. The role of staff is so important in ensuring this customer-facing retail technology has the desired impact.

Indeed, the research shows that experience-driven consumers value the efforts of people as much as the capability of the tech in providing their desired store interactions. Whether its through assisted selling using tablet devices or controlling suitable digital screen content, people are clearly viewed as integral to the tech revolution taking place in stores.

Don’t hold back

There’s no reason why every store experience can’t be a flagship store experience with the right use of people power and technology.

Retailers mustn’t forget that experience-driven consumers are quick to tell friends, family and the wider world, via social media, about their retailer interactions. That’s the way of the digital native.

Therefore, it’s crucial when retailers find a winning formula that they roll it out across their property estates as soon as possible, allowing the good news to spread and more customers to seek out their stores for the experience-hungry generation.

Download Grassfish’s industry report, The Generation Game, for a demographic snapshot of what digital consumers want from today’s retail store.

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