Better Than Washing Dishes: How to Enhance Your CX With In-Store Value
The rise of digital has shifted perceptions of brick-and-mortar retail. What was once a thrilling experience to venture in-store can now be considered an inconvenience, especially when a comparable product is often a button-push away.
For some consumers, in-store shopping has fallen even lower in the ranks and become akin to that of a mundane chore. In fact, a Capgemini survey of 6,000 consumers, titled Making the Digital Connection: Why Physical Retail Stores Need a Reboot, found that one-third of shoppers would rather wash dishes than visit a retail store.
Consumers’ perception of a brand is often tied to their experiences in-store. Yet many physical retailers are missing the mark, and sending their customers straight into the arms of online retailers that make shopping easier, faster and (some might say) better.
However, the in-store experience isn’t yet down the drain. Retailers can drive value in their stores to make their customer experience an enjoyable one. In fact, our team has identified four key ways physical retailers can attract and retain shoppers and differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace through experience, authenticity, purpose and simplicity.
Kantar ShopperScape research found that 67 percent of consumers say they shop at retailers that provide a gratifying experience. Furthermore, over two-thirds are more likely to choose a brand if it exposes them to new sensations/experiences.
Dyson, the U.K.-based technology company which sells air purifiers, commercial hand dryers, vacuum cleaners and hairdryers, opened a flagship store in Manhattan in 2017, to provide interactive experiences that allow consumers to test the company’s products. Consumers can book a free appointment to experiment with the $399 Supersonic Hairdryer or toss food on the floor to try out one of Dyson’s vacuums.
Dyson also has various pop-up locations, including a 10-month Demo Store Beauty Lab in Seoul, Korea, where consumers can get a hair health check-up, tips for hair styling and other related services; and “Dyson Demo Experiences,” which are mini “stores” within Best Buy locations.
Dyson has successfully enhanced the in-store experience by allowing customers to experience its products firsthand, like they would in their homes. The result is something online can’t provide, driving customers to visit a store and see the difference themselves.
Authenticity is Key
Brand authenticity means a company stands by its values no matter what. Shoppers, particularly millennials, tend to buy products from authentic brands, even when they're costlier than the competition. In fact, Accenture Strategy’s 14th annual Global Consumer Pulse Research, conducted in 2018, shows 62 percent of consumers surveyed say they want companies to take a stand on relevant issues like transparency or sustainability. Their purchasing consideration is driven by a company’s ethical values and authenticity, not just its products.
Committed to creating the best products without causing unnecessary harm, Patagonia is known for its authenticity. The company invests in renewable energy, campaigns for environmental causes, and donates 1 percent of its sales to environmental groups worldwide. It even ran a full-page ad on Black Friday 2011, featuring one of its ubiquitous jackets. The headline, “Don’t Buy This Jacket,” was followed by copy touching upon the impact the construction and distribution of one of its jackets had on the environment. Although seemingly risky, Patagonia’s revenue grew nearly 30 percent the following year.
Driven by Purpose
Closely aligned to authenticity is purpose. Purpose is a sense of cause — a campaign that a company fully embraces. It’s about using retail as the vehicle or catalyst to spread a message and to engage customer involvement and support.
Take Warby Parker, the direct-to-consumer prescription eyewear retailer that has distributed more than 5 million pair of glasses to visually impaired people in need. Through its “Buy a Pair Give a Pair” program, Warby Parker works with partners worldwide to ensure that for every pair of glasses purchased, a pair of glasses goes to one of the 2.5 billion people worldwide who need but don’t have access to eyeglasses.
Simplicity Equals Value
While it may seem counterintuitive, consumers are willing to pay for more simplicity — 64 percent of them, according to Siegel and Gale’s Global Brand Simplicity Index Report. However, simplicity doesn’t mean a lack of choices. Rather, simple focuses on easing the customer journey.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has made the chore of buying tires simple and convenient by opening its Roll stores. Adjacent to shopping centers instead of in industrial corridors, customers can drop off their cars and shop, work out or dine while their tires are being installed.
Roll even offers “we’ll come to you” delivery options, allowing customers to go online and book having their vehicles picked up or dropped off at their location of choice; or have a mobile installation van come to their home or another location to have their tires changed. Both services are available for no additional charge.
Creating Memorable Experiences
In-store shopping doesn’t need to be another mundane thing on a consumer's to-do list. It should (and can) be a worthwhile experience that leaves a consumer happy to return.
Retailers can employee these four facets of value — experience, authenticity, purpose and simplicity — to create an experience that's richer, deeper and more valuable for shoppers. And one that will keep them from grabbing a sponge.
Lise Wilson is vice president of retail strategy and strategy and account director, and Susan Brock is vice president of retail strategy at Miller Zell, Inc., a leading full-service retail experience company.
Related story: Brick-and-Mortar Rethink: 5 Areas to Reconsider