With immediate access to information through technology and the growth of competitive options, shoppers are more empowered than ever. Retail is going through a democratizing shift, giving customers a say when it comes to retail experience.
They have two particular expectations: brand accessibility and unique, entertaining experiences.
Smart retailers are already embracing the democratization phenomenon and effectively transforming their brand perceptions by providing customers with unique, sensory experiences that reach beyond the typical display of merchandise. These retailers are giving customers the opportunity to immerse themselves in their products, while making deeper connections with their brands in both brick and mortar stores and digital channels.
Here are two great examples:
Experience the Great Outdoors – in Stores
Last year, the outdoor apparel company, The North Face, used virtual reality to transport shoppers into beautiful remote landscapes. It sent shoppers in its U.S. flagship stores on virtual expeditions of trekking and rock climbing in Yosemite National Park, California and Moab Park, Utah.
In its South Korean stores, customers experienced the thrill of dog sled racing in the South Pole while trying on the newest apparel.
From the comfort of its brick-and-mortar locations, The North Face gave shoppers. who would have never explored these epic activities otherwise, an adventure of a lifetime.
It also built up excitement and allowed outdoor enthusiasts the chance to wear and test its latest gear in virtual environments before actually heading into the great outdoors.
As a result, The North Face presented customers with a unique, entertaining and memorable in-store experience they couldn’t get anywhere else, setting the retailer apart from its competitors.
Most importantly, customers experienced these incredible journeys, whether they were outdoorsy or not. The North Face successfully made its outdoor brand accessible to everyone.
Smart retailers are already embracing the democratization phenomenon and effectively transforming their brand perceptions
Now You See It, Tomorrow They Won’t
Also in 2015, the iconic British fashion brand, Burberry gave its customers a chance to preview its new spring 2016 line a day before it hit the runway. It made the collection available to its followers on Snapchat, the video and photo messaging app that allows users to broadcast content for up to 24 hours.
Burberry later followed up with another Snapchat experience, revealing its new advertising campaign as it was being photographed in real time. Burberry provided shoppers with two innovative social experiences, making the luxury brand accessible.
By choosing Snapchat, Burberry created a youthful energy, leveraged a “don’t miss” sense of urgency, and responded to the need for immediate gratification. It additionally built excitement around shopping in its stores, where Snapchat users could try on the items they “saw first” in real life.
There has been a shift in retail power to today’s smart shopper. As technology evolves, so will shoppers’ expectations. It is important for retailers to pay attention and adapt to the constantly changing trends that keep customers interested and excited about brands.
Currently, customers care more about experiences they can talk about than they do about accumulating merchandise. Consistently providing customers with accessible, personalized, and unique experiences in all retail channels, physical stores as well as digital environments, is what sets retailers apart from their competitors, builds brand loyalty, and influences repeat purchases.