We live in a world that is fast changing and evolving. Each day brings a search for something new and improved. And every once in a while I like to sit and look back and wonder in awe as to where all this came from. It helps get a better look into the future you want to build ahead, while you appreciate the distance mankind has come. While some prefer enjoying the evolving world and it’s perks, there’s some that thrive in building it.
Like much else, retail started off small a century ago.
From small corner shops – where people would walk in to buy the essentials with not much to choose from – to the evolution of department stores and malls, this new century has evolved to be all about the online shopping experience.
However, e-commerce is also reaching its curve and it won’t be long before the customer would be bored of shopping online, albeit, still find it a comfortable experience. Some retailers have already picked up on this and stepped into what they think could be the future of retail.
This day’s experience stores where the only goal is to create an unforgettable experience for the customer walking in, retail has come a long way. But this can’t be it. What could be the future of retail?
A store that sells things is soon seeing it’s end and what is taking over is in fact, experience that sells things. Customers are going to be looking for experiences a store can offer. An experience that lets the customer touch and feel the brand or rather, better understand the brand through its exclusivity, something you can’t always get to feel through online shopping.
Experiences a store offers per square foot could define the brand and what it stands for. Omnichannel stores, while not a very new concept, have not been adopted widely by retailers due it’s risk factors or due to the sudden increase in demand for online shopping. However, brands like Apple, where the customer visits the store to purely experience the product and it’s features and could very well go back and buy it off Apple’s website, already understand the value of creating an unforgettable experience in the minds of the customers, and that is exactly what the customer takes back with him from the visit; the experience.
Another brand, a shaving company called Harry’s believes in the experience it offers to its club members rather than just selling the products and host special shaving kiosks with expert barbers making their customers experience True Joy of Shaving- Brilliant Right?
Johnny Earle in his Bold Talk at INBOUND 2014 said, “These little experiences make people happy. They give them something to talk about..” When a brand that can give its customers an experience like no other, something they can talk about with their friends or share on Facebook and Instagram, they will be that much more loyal and pleased in the long run.
It’s all about the impact the brand has in the minds of the customer. Personalized notes, monthly samples, beautiful packaging are some things that create a delightful product experience.
Kate Spade, a leading handbag company has stepped ahead of the game and has experience stores where you can see a collection of their finest and digitally customise your own. Choose from a range of different textures, trims and fabrics and have the finished product then delivered to your home. It not just gives the customer a whole new experience but also gives him a sense of being a part of designing his own product.
Retail has come a long way since its origin and what it could evolve into in the future is something to keep our eyes open for.