Shockwaves are running through retail. The result is a great divide that’s forming between the purse friendly ‘bargain’ shops and the more indulgent ‘prestige’ stores. This chasm is threatening to swallow up the middle ground of the high street.
So how can these brands survive? Looking at what both prestige stores and brands are doing to match the expectations of their customers is an ideal starting point towards sustainability.
Innovative retailers and brands are discovering there is opportunity in the ‘experience economy’ that is injecting fresh life into shopping. By adapting to the changing times and expectations of the shopper, they are finding new ways to engage their interests. Rather than the digital and physical store being separate and opposing realms, technology is facilitating their convergence, acting as a stimulating way to keep customers in store and drive sales.
The winning formula is shopper first, technology second, creating experiences based around Utility, Usability, Desirability and Brand Experience (Nielsen 2008). Using one or more of these objectives helps to create the frictionless in-store shopper experience.
An example of this in action is our HRG project with Naked Grouse. We were recently brought in to deliver a retail experience aligned with providing an incentive to drive footfall, increase purchases and create a reward for engagement. The shoppers in our sights were millennials and more specifically social drinkers, who we found out liked to experience unique flavours and share new discoveries. To tie in with these insights, we developed a flavour profiler with a difference, using an interactive video with a print mechanic to print off personalised cocktails for the shopper.
The role of personal assisting technology
Technology should fill a primary shopper need, ready to assist in helping them make a purchasing decision whilst making their experience more pleasurable. Take Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, for instance, which, via interactive digital kiosks, allow shoppers to view digital representations of products, learn more about what they’re buying, explore additional customised options and get instant recommendations.
They offer personalised assistance, and you could say are the digital equivalent of an attentive personal shopper but without the added pressure to buy. They can be programmed to help in whatever way is needed, from answering frequently asked questions to surveying customers’ views and experiences.
A gimmick or passing fad? Far from it, it seems. If evidence is needed of the relevance of such technology in today’s market, research from J Walter Thompson’s research arm, Sonar, found that consumers are 80 percent more likely to visit a store offering VR and AR technology compared to one that doesn’t.
At HRG we are always aiming to be innovative using technology in new ways to reach our clients’ objectives and deliver a seamless shopper experience for both brands and retailers. To have chat about what we can do to help please feel free to contact us on 01604 703200, email us here or subscribe to our newsletter.
Article Credit: Rachel Kasujja, Digital New Business Manager for HRG