Over the course of the pandemic, there was an inevitable shift towards online, with little choice available but the internet in order to make purchases of all kinds.
But now that life has opened up once again, the question must be asked – what does this mean for the future of retail and the role of the bricks and mortar store in a post-pandemic world?
Of course, people will continue to shop online, so it’s essential that you have a strong digital presence and an easy-to-use website that helps facilitate this… but you should also make sure you don’t neglect your actual high street shop, as there is most certainly still a place for the retail store, even in the face of all this change and fluctuation.
However, how your store operates will also need to evolve in the face of this altered landscape – and now’s the time to do some research into experience-led shopping, as this is something that consumers are increasingly coming to expect from the brands they choose to spend their money with. They want to get tactile and be surprised and entertained.
The good news is that this doesn’t have to be complicated – and it’s also a lot of fun! The idea is to offer a truly personalised and engaging service so that you can build a loyal following and attract growing numbers through the doors.
This can be achieved by using technology such as digital LED screens instore to provide people with information on products, or show them how they’d look in a new colour, with a new haircut or in the latest cosmetic lines.
Or you could use your store to really build a community around your brand, holding classes and events, pop-ups and so on to encourage people to come in and get together, really getting to know your customers on a truly personal level.
What is important is to make sure that you embrace an omnichannel shopping experience strategy, ensuring that there is a level of consistency for your customers with what they’ll find on your website and what they see when they pop in to say hi in person.
For inspiration in this regard, check out what Burberry has been up to recently at its flagship store in London. The team there decided to make sure that, when entering the shop, people actually felt as though they had landed on the homepage of the website, really integrating the online world with the offline one.
Chief executive of the brand Angela Ahrendts explained that the Regent Street shop “brings our digital world to life in a physical space for the first time, where customers can experience every facet of the brand through immersive multimedia content exactly as they do online”.
And this was way back in 2013, showing that Burberry really was well ahead of the curve! Do you think you could achieve something similar? Now’s the time to get those thinking caps on.
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