A recent article titled 5 Retailers That Have Made Experience Their Business published by www.cmo.com shines some light on the biggest trends that are currently taking place regarding retail businesses that are impacting both online and brick & mortar store fronts. Here are the 5 retailers that have been profiled in the article and how they are evolving their brands more experience based.
Sephora is creating an in-store and online experiences that creates a sense of community and shows customers that they are valued. If you are visiting the physical store you can get a makeover with expert artists or join a beauty class that covers topics such as “age-defying skincare”. Online Sephora.com has “The Beauty Workshop” which is a collection of How-To videos created by what they call “Beauty Talk Community” to engage with their customers and provide advice on how to use their products. This unifies their in-store and online experiences to deliver a congruent message.
From the start Lululemon always tries to be integral part of its local community wherever it is, this still holds true today. Lululemon does this through a variety of means; it turns its stores into yoga studios with classes led by local instructors; it has an “inspiration” section on its website for community members to know what’s happening at local stores; and an in-store bulletin board where employees and other members of the community can share their goals and accomplishments. The Lululemon brand really lives by its brand values and always provides an experience to its customers.
One thing Kohl’s is doing to reshape it’s in-store experience is that they are transforming 85% of their store layouts to offer a unique experience every time you visit a different Kohl’s store. They are also creating a greater online presence with three different fulfillment options; order and pick-up in store; buy online; and ship from store. The results so far have been that last year 39% of all orders were fulfilled through one of these three channels. Kohl’s has also launched Kohl’s Pay which allows customers to pay with their phones and save on purchases.
To keep in-store retail alive, CEO Uri Minkoff introduced what he calls “Retail 3.0” at two Rebecca Minkoff locations. Developed in collaboration with eBay is a large interactive screen at the entrance of the store, the screen allows customers to search through products, order drinks to enjoy whilst shopping, and provides recommendations for customers. Even the fitting rooms come equipped with interactive mirrors that allows customers to pick and choose what they would like to try on without having to leave the fitting room. The data from the mirror can also be synced with a mobile app so users know what they liked, disliked, and the sizes that worked for them. The experience is really unique to the retail environment and encourages customers to visit the physical stores. What this brand is doing is a great example of how technology can aid and transform the in-store experience.
The experience Apple provides does not only stem from the store layout and the technologies it has at hand but mainly from their employees and the culture they hold so highly. At Apple you are always greeted with highly energetic, comforting individuals who are also product experts that can really help you decide what product is best for you. Another critical aspect is that at Apple you don’t have to grab the item and go wait in line at the cash register. The employee who welcomes you and informs you about the products is the same one that will process your transaction at the point of engagement, which is critical to keep the customer journey experience seamless. Apple’s in-store culture will always be iconic because it’s human-centred but is heavily aided with their technology.
Read more about these retailers here.
It is clear that the retail landscape is going through major transformations in order to keep the in-store experience alive ,engaging, meaningful and unforgettable. One part of the customer journey that almost all retailers are looking to make more seamless and efficient is the transaction and sale at the point of sale system (POS). Apple does make the transaction more seamless but there remains some friction points since it is still a traditional transaction. The customer still has to reach for his phone or wallet, they still have to provide some personal information, and then they receive a receipt for the purchase (digital or physical).
At Lucova we have revolutionized this experience with our In-store Success Platform, turning traditional POS system into a Point-of-Experience™. Our POE platform makes every transaction persona, frictionless and seamless for customer. Customers can just walk in, be greeted by name, and walk out with their product without having to take out anything from their pockets or even have to regurgitate their personal information.
To learn more about Lucova’s Point of Experience platform, click here.