In recent years, the retail world has changed beyond recognition. Although many retailers have failed to meet the rising expectations of their customers, other trailblazers have gone from strength to strength and produced outstanding and immersive experiences for their retail clients. With that in mind, we take a look at how the retail experience has changed and what we can expect to see in the near future.
Understanding what shoppers actually want
There’s no doubt that shopping habits have changed considerably in recent times. For instance, during the pandemic, even the most hesitant online shoppers had no choice but to place orders online to get the essentials and other items that they needed. Something else that many people have realised is that online shopping is often more hassle than it’s worth, particularly where returns are concerned. Now that most shops have re-opened post-lockdown, some people still feel uncomfortable going into brick-and-mortar locations as they’re not entirely sure of the current restrictions. Still, most people are pleased to return to physical retail, even after embracing online shopping for the first time.
Retailers need to up their game
The British high street is changing, with so many big retailers going under in recent times. With retailers like Gap recently announcing store closures, it’s possible that such practice could be a viable strategy for the big retailers, particularly until people feel 100% comfortable with returning to stores. Physical retail is crucial for clothing brands, as consumers want to touch and feel items before buying them. So, while the pandemic forced many of us to change our retail habits, it showed brands that the general public wants more from the retail experience.
There’s more to shopping than spending
The latest trends suggest that shoppers want something experiential from the high street. Retailers that offer a fun and engaging experience are more likely to benefit from return shoppers. The fear of missing out (FOMO) also influences the present-day shopping experience, as we don’t want our lives to be mundane. When we see someone post something cool and innovative on social media, we want to be a part of it. As such, the stores that have cranked things up a notch as far as the customer journey is concerned are seeing significant rewards. Apple is a great example of this, as the tech giant allows customers to play with every product in the store, no matter how expensive it is.
In retail, it’s impossible to overlook the power of people. Most of us are fed up with being in front of screens day in, day out, and human connection is a powerful way to deliver a unique shopping experience. Shopping is an experience for us to connect with our friends and the general public, and it’s important for our mental health. These real-life engagements boost customer confidence and make people much more likely to purchase something. When you can touch, smell, and see a product with your own eyes, you are more considerate. Providing shoppers with a sensory experience will enhance your in-store retail experience.
While online shopping is undoubtedly here to stay, there is huge potential for physical retailers who are willing and able to deliver sensory experiences to their clients. Based in Westfield, London, Situ Live is a discovery playhouse that showcases innovative products in a unique and compelling way.