It is no secret that retail is having to evolve in order to still remain relevant.
Modern consumers are simply ever more inclined to shop online, with everything from big-ticket electronics to bedside reading available within a few clicks (and often from the same sites).
While there are always going to be shoppers who prefer to touch, feel and try out items – especially garments – before making a purchase, the fact remains that retail is under serious pressure across the world.
This explains a growing trend within the retail industry of stores – especially large chains – adopting innovative approaches to attract footfall.
Offering customers an enjoyable retail experience instead of viewing them as walking credit cards seems to have been paying dividends for those early adopters.
After all, let’s face it – retail is a more immersive experience than just seeking out a fresh Nairabet code(the fun is in the betting!) so why not try and make shoppers look forward to visiting your store?
For smart retailers, these initiatives can become an integral part of their brand identity and even add a premium to their products.
Footwear fashion store Converse has been showing how this can be done. Since 2015 they have engaged their customers in a worldwide search for musical talent, paying for studio and recording time for 84 acts across the globe.
This has received massive attention within their ‘hip’ target market and culminated in the release of a unique 13 track album.
Converse has also used their stores to highlight how iconic their Chuck Taylor’s brand is within the art world, hosting special events and parties in many of their stores.
Going even further upmarket, the world of high fashion has been quick to adapt to the potential offered by VR and augmented reality.
One acclaimed example has been Rebecca Minkoff, who has not only put on 360 VR playbacks of their fashion shows for champagne sipping fashionistas but even used it to show how exclusive garments would look upon their customers.
A virtual fitting room – whatever next! Such value-added exclusivity only helps to keep the brand up to date and forward thinking, and when the tech becomes more mainstream this will likely become much more commonplace.
Another aspect that savvy retailers have been smart to manipulate has been forming partnerships with the most popular apps.
With a growing majority of people enjoying phone based AR games such as Pokemon Go, forming a commercial tie-in with such apps can massively attract people through the door.
Starbucks and others were quick to hop on the Pokemon craze, and became worldwide renowned as among the best places to go ‘hunting’. Of course, you’ll need to buy a coffee first though.
Even supermarkets have been looking into ways to enhance their ‘real world’ shopping experience as an alternative to just ordering household groceries online for delivery.
Long gone are the repetitive days of the tired old demonstration video playing on a loop. The future of convenience shopping is going to include hologram style presentations by world famous cooks providing tips on how to use ingredients in new dishes.
Forget customer or critic’s reviews – everyone knows that people trust expert opinion above anything else. That will be a key development in the next few years, as well as interactive shopping suggestions depending on personal preferences via smartphones and wearable technology.
If this sounds just like another way for retailers to convince their customers to buy more, then yes – but it only tells half the story.
Brand association with art and entertainment is ever more crucial, just look at H&M’s partnership with Alex Katz – an association that would have seemed utterly bizarre just a few years ago now makes perfect sense.
The same can be said for the famously utilitarian Apple Stores and rustic old Wholefoods having started to host art events within their stores.
Staying interesting and relevant has never been so essential, and such events cause such a buzz that social media will take care of the rest.
So if anyone thinks retail is no longer relevant – think again!