Turning browsers into brand addicts

High street retail is far from dead - it just hasn't unlocked its true potential.

Nobody needs reminding that retail has changed dramatically. As online increasingly becomes the place where transactions are done, bricks and mortar stores are more and more about the touch and feel experience of products.

Touch and feel vs. 'the deal'

Online is a world of social, friends, curated ‘good things’ and captivating content. It’s also a crocodile pit of online retailers scrambling for every dollar and cent they can get, with offers, discounts and bundles to get your business – an impossible environment to compete with as a high street store.

It’s pretty much guaranteed that we’ve all done some retail store browsing where we find something we like, then whilst still sauntering around the racks and shelves, search for the item on our mobile and get pricing and offers from a dozen other retailers.

In that one moment, we’re fulfilling our need to touch and feel, read the box or try on for size, and at the same time making sure we’re getting the best possible deal. The danger for the high street is that the best deal is likely to be online.

The unique advantages of being real

So why are retail stores still so boring in their approach to store design? Why not play to the unique advantage of being ‘real’ and dial up the experiential aspect of shopping to lock customers into the emotion of the purchasing journey?

Why not engage customers more deeply with unique, inspiring spaces and displays, instagrammable locations, informative and enjoyable experiences that harness the emotion of the purchasing journey?

Imagine walking into a travel agency where none of the staff sit at a desk, and greet you in beach-wear, holding a tablet, the walls are floor-to-ceiling screens playing a relaxing tropical beach scene, while sounds of exotic birds can be heard in the background.

How about a pharmacy make-up stand where augmented reality is used to show you yourself in different outfits, in different settings, with matching make-up themes, revealing your optimum choices as you go?

Think of an auto accessory store where the centrepiece is a partially disassembled vehicle and customers can try different parts and tools to learn the differences between them, whilst having a fun and engaging experience.

All online has to offer is the convenience of sedentary shopping and maybe a few dollars off. Bricks and mortar though has the potential to make you come back again and again and again for a fantastic experience that satisfies so many more senses and emotional needs, turning browsers into brand-addicts.

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