Shopping in-store remains a preference for most consumers today — incorporating experiential retail into brick and mortar can amplify that one step further.
Change has certainly been a catalyst during the current pandemic; however, it has not affected the way people shop. Online options may be more easily accessible, but brick-and-mortar shopping continues to take the lead. The State of Consumer Behavior Report by Raydiant found that 57.5% of consumers over the age of 35 prefer to shop at physical locations, while 45% of consumers ages 18–34 still prefer to shop at physical locations.
The real opportunity here is for retailers to focus on providing in-store experiences for shoppers, to inspire them to keep coming back. Physical locations already house several advantages that allow them to connect with consumers on a more personal level. By harnessing a specific experience for consumers right when they walk in the door, this can create a more powerful and unique human connection for the brick-and-mortar space.
Physical retail serves as a space for innovation and opportunity. We’ve seen it with a ton of online retailers, such as Amazon, Warby Parker and Casper, each of which invested in physical spaces to test out experiential retail in their own ways.
Amazon has taken new heights to experiment with brick and mortar. Whether its opening dozens of new physical stores this year, or testing out a high-tech shopping cart, the brand has developed visions to bring convenience to their consumers.
Warby Parker and Casper have each opened over 100 stores, creating a personalized shopping experience for their shoppers. While they have very different markets, they both started out as digital brands that transitioned into the brick-and-mortar space. They developed in-store experiences for shoppers that allowed them to enhance and compliment their online presence.
Even brands who have always harnessed an omnichannel approach, such as American Eagle and Nordstrom, are striving to focus their efforts on experiential models. American Eagle has adopted a new store concept, straying away from their typical brand messaging, to create a more relaxing, free-spirited atmosphere. Nordstrom has created a flexible labor model to pivot in times of hardship and has transitioned their full-line stores to offer more experiences and services to consumers.
Incorporating shareable moments, personalization and unique offerings have defined the best in-store experiences and offers a point of difference in the retail space. By challenging the status quo, retailers can adapt experiential models and attract consumers in new, unexpected ways.