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Create experiences not transactions

Shopper expectations are set by their best experience
To earn loyalty, retailers need to delight shoppers, not just persuade them to buy. A better environment and experience will keep shoppers coming back. But in an omnichannel environment, our FutureBuy research suggests that some retailers with a physical store presence simply aren’t maximizing their advantage effectively.

Let your environment inspire shoppers
Anticipating the future, some retailers have already made changes to get the most from their physical stores. For example, Virgin Holidays has said: “We like to do things differently. While most stores are designed to sell, sell, sell, that isn’t the top of our agenda. We want to provide a retail space that is designed to inspire consumers through immersive experiences.”  In the financial services sector we have seen some forward-thinking providers design a space in which people want to dwell, reducing the formal and intimidating nature of old-fashioned banks. We also expect the automotive sector to adopt similar practices in its showrooms so that those of us who aren’t car enthusiasts can better visualize the benefits of a vehicle and not just the product.

How do you excite shoppers online?
Online retailers have their own advantages, one of which is data, which holds the key to personalization. In our FutureBuy survey, 35% of shoppers globally told us that they like it “…when a website keeps track of my visits and then recommends things to me”. 64% of consumers in Turkey agreed with this statement, followed by 57% of those in Brazil and 57% in China. But personalization can work even harder for retailers to grow ever elusive loyalty. 42% of all shoppers and the majority (74%) of Leading Edge Consumers agreed with the statement: “I would be more loyal to a brand/retailer that lets me input into or help shape the products/services I buy.”

However, while consumers seek personalization, they are also concerned about data privacy (see chart). Reassuring shoppers that you will protect their information is the obvious solution, but it’s also important to consider the tone and content of your personalization. It is far better to discover what their needs are, and to respond to them, than to target them with something that doesn’t resonate or, worse still, they consider inappropriate.

In summary
The future of retail isn’t all about closing the deal as fast as possible. Shoppers often visit retailers to discover what’s new or simply to inform themselves. If your objective is happy, satisfied shoppers that keep coming back, so that when they are ready to make a purchase they make it with you, you need to be offering them more than just a place to buy. You need to offer an environment, whether that’s online or offline, that inspires and a personal service that delights.

 

>> Explore the blographic and the infographic.

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