2016 could be described as a challenging and uncertain year for the retail industry with the political sphere’s unexpected changes around the world. However, that was last year and it is always good to look ahead with a positive perspective. With this in mind, we thought we would discuss what we can expect to see in 2017 in the retail stores and how that will impact the customer experience.
I think we can all agree there has been a significant rise in consumers buying online in recent years. The convenience of being able to sit in your own home and browse the retailer’s products then have them at your door the next day, clearly has an undeniable appeal.
However, there is equally still an important argument to be made about the importance of a bricks and mortar store. There is no replacement for being able touch or try on the clothes, sit on the sofa or play around with the electronic gadget before committing to your purchase.
As we have discussed on the blog over the past few months, many stores have begun embracing technology to heighten their customer experience. By finding innovative and unique ways to incorporate a digital presence within store helps to create the ‘Ultimate customer experience’.
As the digital sphere continues to grow and develop the introduction of digital practice within retail will become ever more prevalent. Retailers will be able to use these developments in a very practical way to manage and analyse their daily business. Screens will be capable of tracking customers and this information could provide retailers with valuable insight into their customer base. They can decipher what their shopping habits are which will allow them to further develop an engaging shopping experience.
The rise of virtual reality could provide a plethora of exciting opportunities for retailers. For example, it can provide shoppers with improved visualisation of the products on their person or in their home. A great example of a brand who have successfully embraced these developments is Superdry. They have introduced virtual dressing rooms in their flagship store in Berlin. http://www.sixteen-nine.net/2016/12/23/superdrys-berlin-flagship-tries-on-gesture-based-virtual-dressing-room/. The suggestion is 2017 will see much more of this in the coming year.
With these developments in mind we considered some of the challenges designers may face. They will be tasked with designing this full in-store experience that allows customers to make the most of the innovations on offer. For example, LED screens and touch screen technology. All of which allows for tactile and engaging brand interactions with customers.
The outlined innovations seek to address how the retail experience can be personalised to appeal to each individual customer. How retailers can resonate with their individual preferences and feelings which will ultimately drive sales, increase brand loyalty and encourage repeat custom.
Tell us in the comments below, what digital innovations have captured your attention within retail or what you hope to see in the future. You can also share your thoughts or photos over on our socials which are linked below.