As more and more consumer shopping moves online, some brands are going all-in on digital – all but starving their retail environments of brand experience. These choices have consequences, especially considering that 94% of our shopping still takes place in brick-and-mortar stores. It’s not just good feelings for a brand that come out of creating positive customer interactions with your brand. Customer experience impacts the bottom line growing revenue by 5-10% and costing 15-20% less than acquiring new customers.
How do brands deliver on their brand promise in the retail environment? From our perspective, any good retail experience sits at the intersection of brand, place and culture. That means living your brand promise in every consumer interaction, rallying your people around what your brand stands for, and creating cohesive spaces in which to interact. Understanding how your physical space impacts the brand experience, we’ve put together a list of the top-5 considerations to enhancing retail brand experiences.
1) Zones of Experience
We use customer journey mapping to understand how people use a space and come up with a plan for developing retail brand experiences. That means anticipating what customers want and need before they step foot in your store. Of course, you want your space to be organized intuitively, easy to navigate and convenient, but you also want to deploy your trained staff in key locations to assist customers. Having a frustrating time finding what you’re looking for and having no one to help you leaves an impression that your business doesn’t matter. Consider what customers are doing in each area of your stores and design the space and staffing to fit the purpose. Remember, when retail spaces are a happy marriage of form and function, your brand wins.
2) Staff as Brand Ambassadors
We discussed deploying your staff within the retail store, but does everyone within your company understand and live the brand promise during every customer interaction? Your employees say a lot about your brand. For good or bad, customers remember their in-store experiences with your employees. In today’s socialized world, they share their experiences with their friends. Appropriate staffing may result in more sales, but more importantly, staffing should focus on solving customer problems. Are you doing everything you can to foster a brand culture in the retail environment? Ongoing training will help develop employees into brand ambassadors who live and breathe a brand’s values every day, in every way.
3) Smart Tech Deployment
Clunky tech is a big turnoff. If you are using technology in your retail environment, it should serve as a tool to enhance the experience. Drug stores offering blood pressure machines are a great example of providing a valuable service while customers wait for their prescription. Another useful tech deployment is integrated apps that populate with coupons, loyalty offerings and customer services, available right on their phone. Don’t just find a tech tool you think is cool; in-store technology should be based squarely around enhancing the customer experience. Be sure you know what problem you’re trying to solve first, then look for a targeted solution. You may find a high-tech or decidedly low-tech solution to your customer challenge.
4) Sensorial Strategy
Does your retail environment feel like your brand? Of course, your brand colors should be used within the environment, but what about how your store smells or what music you play? A sensory experience appeals to the human senses: sight, sound, scent, touch or taste. How people react to retail environments can be boiled down to how they feel in the space, and much of that instinct is based on our senses. If a display is disorganized, the music too loud or strange, or a weird musty smell is in the air, you can pretty much guarantee that customers will be turned off. Everyone knows DoubleTree has the cookies. Why? Sensorial strategy – both smell and taste. The more senses you can reach in retail, the more staying power your brand will have in the mind of the consumer.
5) Digital Signage
One way to make a retail space feel dynamic is to incorporate digital signage. In fact, digital signage receives 400% more views than static signs, posters and displays. With digital signage, brands can deploy brand messaging and positioning and provide curated content for consumers through engaging, moving images. Digital signage can also enhance retail locations because it can be modified, updated, localized and customized to each retail environment – ensuring that each store feels like the brand, but also like its local community at the same time. The latest signage technology even offers interactivity, where consumers curate their own experiences. Today, there is a digital signage solution from the largest retail brands to the mom-and-pop shops.
With all of these ways to infuse your brand into the retail environment, the most important consideration is developing a holistic strategy across all consumer touch points. Being purposeful is the key to creating retail brand experiences that shine.
If you would like to learn more about retail experience design solutions, contact Adrenaline at firstname.lastname@example.org.