Customer demands are evolving so that digital technologies are becoming an integral part of in-store retail shopping. While most customers rely on online and mobile connectivity for shopping, they also still enjoy shopping in physical stores. As a result, immersive retail experiences must integrate digital technologies consumers’ want and use when shopping at brick-and-mortar sales outlets to be competitive. This week, Liana Stanford, Studio Manager at Toolbox Group, looks at this a little closer…
In a recent Insight report, retail design specialist Caulder Moore suggests that the experience and entertainment within the store environment is part of a growing trend for a sensory retail design, which is key to conveying brand essence to the consumer and demonstrating how it relates to their lifestyle.
“Consumers want the ability to test and trial, research and physically examine the goods and services they are intending to buy,” says Barclays Process Improvement Director for Premier Banking Clive Grinyer. “Brands are understanding that there are different values at play here, things you can do at home that you can’t do in the store and vice versa.”
US, high-end home retailer Pirch maximises the role of the store space in the digital era. From its Manhattan showroom, it lets customers try out all the merchandise in surroundings that look like a salubrious home. This includes cooking alongside a chef in a top of the range kitchen, disrobing to test up to 30 technologically advanced shower head designs, or wallowing in a mud bath.
Also, this year saw Hunter open its second global flagship store in Japan, affirming its commitment to a full-blown sensory retail experience. Much like its sister location in London, the store is designed to appeal to the visual and auditory senses via massive digital displays and custom soundscapes meant to keep customers engaged.
Shoppers enter the 3,200-square-foot store in Tokyo through an imaginary forest equipped with life-like birch trunks that pierce the first floor. The ceiling is composed of a 570-square-foot digital light box, which emulates a typical cloudy sky. A four-meter-high digital screen loops branded content and broadcasts live events from around the world.
While browsing the store for their perfect pair of wellies, customers can take in the sounds of heavy rain and thunderstorms. Regular weather updates from around the UK are also displayed along with accompanying custom soundscapes to reinforce the brand’s British roots.
Converse has launched a virtual reality app. With virtual reality technology tipped earlier in the year as one of 2016’s biggest trends, we saw IKEA join the ranks of eBay to embark on creating a new digital experience for its customers. Converse uses innovative technology to show how shoes will be tried on in the near future. With their AR-fuelled Converse Sampler app, the customer can select any shoe from the Converse catalogue and simply point the phone towards your foot to see how the (virtual) shoe will look wearing it.
This particular app even supports purchases, so the customer can have the full retail experience of shopping, trying on shoes, and making a purchase all through the power of AR.
In summary, augmented reality technology and AR apps have limitless marketing potential for retailers. An exciting retail future lies ahead where the digital world meets the physical world!
If you would like innovative ideas on how to help your brand evolve, please get in touch, Toolbox Group are here to help!