With competition for high street space at an all-time-high, many consumers have been abandoning the physical shopping experience in favor of online. The loss of high-street customers is one of the biggest retail issues of the decade, and marketing efforts have been increasingly directed towards finding a solution. So, how have retailers been regaining their offline consumers? Business card suppliers Where The Trade Buys take a closer look.
According to a recent study, 75% of consumers expressed that they would be more likely to buy from brands that recognized them by name or recommended products to them based on their previous purchases. Analytics can provide customer information which assists with personalization, and this is key to building brand loyalty. The iconic jeweler Tiffany and Co. brought a breath of fresh air to the opening of their Covent Garden store, creating a ‘Style Studio’ where they sell more than just their luxury jewels. Homeware and accessories have been added to the range, to give the brand a better positioning in the everyday life of their customers, found within the exquisite on brand studio, finished in the company’s classic duck egg blue. Further features such as a personalization station called #MakeItTiffany where customers can get jewellery items engraved. The aesthetic of the store also targets the Instagram generation of younger shoppers, and the store is an experience within itself.
In recent years, the travel sector in particular has been hit hard by the rise of online booking agents. With companies such as Airbnb and a plethora of agents taking their businesses online, physical travel agents have had to think of innovative ways to retain the holiday booking experience as an offline task. Virgin Holidays have taken this on board and created a string of concept stores to revitalize the booking experience. The stores include mocked up airplane cabins and virtual reality technologies to take customers on a simulated tour of a destination. By playing on sensory features, Virgin are capitalizing on the ‘real’ elements which are far harder for digital to replicate. They have essentially gone back to basics, providing a friendly, visual experience in order to help trigger conversions. This exemplifies the fact that certain personalization methods in retail are exclusive to the offline space, and 22% of younger and older families still book their holiday in store which proves the value.
Mixing online with offline
Some retailers have been introducing personalized services in the form of digitalized features. Before the age of department stores and supermarkets, stores were small and independent, which made for strong rapports with customers. However, the emergence of large, modern stores made shopping a far less sociable activity. When online furniture and homeware retailer Made.com decided to take a leap of faith and open a physical store, they kept this concept at the heart of their plans. The recently relaunched Soho London showroom captured the best of both worlds, from QR codes to assist in locating products to staff lead workshops for customers to attend. By doing so, they struck the perfect balance between the offline and online world.
A tailored experience
Personalization is all about knowing your audience – for example, Joules offer discounts to customers to coincide with shopping events and sales. By providing the relevant discounts, customers are more likely to feel drawn towards a purchase as the offer is based on their previous buying habits with the brand. Urban Outfitters use their reward scheme to dish out points to shoppers, even just by paying a visit to the store. Incentives like these can provide the fuel for a conversion, as well as a trip to the shops. Many stores offer memberships or points cards, which offer regular treats or an annual vouchers provide the motivation for a purchase, as simple as it might sound!
In order to keep up with the changing retail landscape, retailers must adapt by introducing more personalized services. Human elements are the most difficult to replicate online, therefore retail is effectively playing to its own advantage by boosting the presence of personalization by creating a shopping experience which is tailored to the customer.