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Retailers Would Be Wise To Step It Up On The Experience Front



The retail landscape continues to change dramatically, paying close attention to the store experience offered represents a great starting point.
The retail landscape continues to change dramatically before our eyes. There is a constant battle being waged for the all-important traffic count metrics that translates into consumers parting ways with their dollars, and retailers simply need to adapt to the changing times in order to remain viable. According to Crain’s Detroit Business, paying close attention to the store experience offered represents a great starting point. 

Today’s consumer has a seemingly never-ending stream of options that can be used to fulfill their shopping needs. Online transactions are at the forefront, and it can be challenging to simply spur a shopper to leave their home to purchase what they need or desire. The days of a lazy weekend spent browsing and purchasing are becoming a distant memory at many once-thriving malls and centers, but some are still managing to thrive in these challenging times. 

Those centers and malls are benefitting from retailers that have mastered the art of customer engagement, and that should be studied carefully by those who find their brick-and-mortar stores resemble a ghost town.

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"Shopping has changed as (society has) moved to being more inquisitive and less acquisitive (a term defined as an interest in acquiring material things)," explains Ken Nisch, chairman of brand strategy and retail design firm JGA. 

He goes on to explain that retailers must "truly master the experience" in order to achieve success, and that could mean different things depending on the retailer’s targeted consumer. Additionally, there must be seamless integration between a store’s physical presence and their online capabilities. 

Consumers are pretty big fans of being able to research a product online, viewing the object of their affections in person, and then being able to transact the purchase in the manner of their choosing - at the store or with the click of a button. Retailers that can make that a seamless experience will continue to be at the front of the pack in the consciousness of today’s shopper. 

Beyond the transaction and shopping aspect, retailers need to be mindful of not only the appearance of their stores - a factor that can not be understated - and what they are offering once shoppers are walking through the doors. Dated stores that are in need of serious renovations and upgrades may have their own answer for why they are a ghost town staring them directly in the face, and retailers that go the extra mile and offer more than expected should continue to knock it out of the park. 

"Increasingly important are retailer atmospherics such as ambiance, music, pace and tonality. Very little is left to gut intuition," says Jeff Stoltman, an associate professor of marketing at Wayne State University. 

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