RETAIL: 3 INNOVATIVE TRENDS THAT STAND OUT
The retail landscape has undergone far-reaching upheavals in recent years. The many technological innovations ushered in by the ongoing digital transformations have enticed the industry to leverage technology to support new buying patterns.
With e-commerce, m-commerce and, soon, v-commerce based on virtual reality, the retail industry is reshaping itself and has rolled out new practices focused on customer experience. This paves the way to the concept of loyalty 2.0 which is the next key differentiator in an increasingly competitive environment.
#1 THE PHYGITAL EXPERIENCE
Digitization is pervasive… and the retail industry seems to be on the crest of this wave. From online stores to the VR-enabled Christmas shop designed by Sephora, retailers are reinventing themselves by closing the gap between physical and digital experiences, at every step of the customer journey.
Physical environments make it possible to see, smell, and touch products — 3 senses not leveraged in e-commerce—while digitization gives brands the appeal to catch the attention of customers, while delivering an experience that is more in tune with their expectations and habits.
Thus, stores are now using self-order kiosks, sometimes directly linked to the stock keeping units. Undiz, for example, delivers purchased products by pneumatic tubes from their inventory. Showrooms are becoming digitized, as at Décathlon, which lets customers try out its range of tents in virtual reality, to save the 600 sq. m. of showroom space that would be otherwise needed. Brands are wagering on tailored service, as at 7 Fresh, a next generation Chinese supermarket that guides customers through its aisles and offers to cook purchased food products in the in-house restaurant.
Today’s customers are fickle with regards to brands. To better attract and retain them, brands are moving beyond the simple experience, traditional loyalty card to a highly targeted data-driven strategy. The goal is to switch from mass communications to proximity, personalized relationships with each customer.
Thus, brands are transitioning from phygital to smart phygital, melding online and offline experiences and making their marketing strategies smarter. This is witnessed by the new Nike stores in the US that leverage data from NikePlus applications to make customers’ visits to the store more personal: such customers are identified as they step in, they can retrieve reserved products from a smart locker, and even return products from their car… There are many options, all aiming at enhancing the services delivered and offering an experience that fosters membership and loyalty.
#3 FROM A SHOPPING PLACE TO A LIVELY VENUE
Are digitized supermarkets the new competitors of shopping malls? While the latter are more and more deserted, next generation supermarkets are playing on a very similar field. Thus, highly-connected retailers provide a host of services that turn traditional outlets into venues full of life that want to retain customers for as long as possible!
One example is the « 4 », the flagship store of the Casino Group that opened at the end of 2018 on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. This concept store brings together a digitized food market, a restaurant, co-working spaces, and even a lounge furnished by CDiscount where customers can order the exhibited pieces of furniture from a self-service kiosk. Definitely a great boost to the overall customer experience. While digital features attract consumers, on-site services carry the process one-step forward by delivering the ordering functionality and nurturing loyalty.
The retail industry is undergoing profound changes. Many new practices are emerging while major trends can be clearly identified, from smart phygital strategies to the transformation of outlets into lively shopping venues. All focused on enhancing the customer experience.
Interested in the new avalaible levers to connect and engage with your customers?