Can shopping be made fun? How to give even the most reluctant shoppers an unforgettable experience
As a business owner, particularly, in this case, one that owns a clothing retailer, have you witnessed the scene outside of the changing rooms, of somebody waiting whilst their significant other tries on about 43 items only to eventually decide they actually only like 1 of them?
The feeling is common, and many retailers bare witness to it, even if you haven’t bared witness to it in your own store - you’ve been bored before. You’ve had to wait before. A customer’s phone feels like their only refuge in the world and the only thing they can think about is where they’ll eventually go for lunch.
A shopping day. Ah, that most glorious of days. Let’s be honest, it’s not a day everybody looks forward to. We’d be lying if we said shopping was always top of our most desirable ‘to-do’ list, but what if, as retailers, it could be transformed into a genuinely fulfilling experience, beyond the brief and often fleeting immediate satisfaction of making a purchase?
What if we could make it productive rather than lethargic?
Here goes nothing…
A potential customer is out shopping but you’re craving something sweet. A doughnut. A piece of chocolate to nibble on. A cookie. Sounds, well, sweet, doesn’t it? But they’re also in a clothing store. Or a tech store. Or even a food store. Now they want a drink. Where do they go?
They need to either pay for something (in the food store), then perhaps eat it shamefully, as if they just couldn’t wait to get home, or, alternatively, leave where they are in search of treats elsewhere. Good luck convincing them to buy something now.
There’s got to be a solution.
More and more barbers in Britain have begun offering waiting customers a refreshment whilst they wait, be it a water, a coffee or even a beer. “What a touch”, you’d think, as you perused the magazines and sipped away on a cold one.
Could the same thing happen in clothing stores where people must wait for whoever they’re with to try on their new gear? What about in a tech store, whilst some of the products are being demonstrated?
Ok, there are some details to be ironed out, but you get the picture.
Maybe food and drink could be offered to customers as a reward for loyalty, or even just because they’re nice. Pret did it!
It’s unconventional and surprising, but who doesn’t like a nice surprise whilst out shopping?
Tech it out…
How cool are tablets?
Really, though. 10 years ago we didn’t have them. Or we did, but nobody wanted them. Now they’re everywhere. I’ve just found one behind my sofa, in fact. Oh, there’s another one in the bread bin. Everybody has one.
So could more retailers begin utilising their potential?
Yes, and it would be very positive for them to do so. Although it's true that in technology this is not the most modern gadget, so we've taken things a step further.
At HMY we've been working with Futbol Emotion to create a digital code reader that will help customers decide on their purchase.
With a simple gesture, we bring the product to the reader with a connected touch screen where the customer can view the entire stock of products as well as technical characteristics and other relevant information.
Ok, but hear us out.
Of course, the cost of hiring personal shoppers and having the space in which such a system could work is tricky, but think of the service.
The one thing worrying some retailers right now is digital transformation; i.e. the online stores replacing the physical stores.
But that’s exactly why something drastic is needed. The Wall Street Journal reported that some stores do offer private shopping sessions for customers who know how to ask. The result is something the internet can’t provide in a truly meaningful way: customer service.
Following with the same example of Football Emotion, thanks to this new concept of boot comparison tool, it's possible to change the way in which the personal shopper works. This reader can function as an interactive personal shopper in which the buyer himself can inform himself of all the technical characteristics of the product. In addition, it can serve as an aid to the workers when it comes to selling.
In addition to all these innovations, people shop for social reasons, too. Giving somebody another human being to connect with goes a long way to ensuring your company makes a meaningful impact on those who use it.
Naturally, these changes are quite significant and for some retailers would be difficult logistically. However, for those that do want to make themselves a cut above the rest, implementing some of these ideas could be just the antidote to what sometimes feels a little bit flat.
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