Are brick-and-mortar retailers dinosaurs destined for extinction? Or are they evolving new consumer-centric experiences? Group Delphi experiential marketing experts weigh-in:
“Experiential is becoming much more at play,” says Business Development Executive David Salinger. “Everyone now uses Amazon as a search engine to buy products. The game has clearly been changed on what a seller needs to fill up his or her physical space. So, when you move into offering experiences in-store, you’re stepping up with something online can’t provide.”
Among the experiential marketing trends in retail, online-based retailers are launching offline showrooms to also provide in-store experiences.
“Even online retailers are catching on. Companies like Raspberry Pi have opened stores, offering kits for coders. Amazon Go is another example of an online retailer manifesting itself into a physical space,” says Salinger.
Tech Out at Check Out
The tech-based companies aren’t just becoming brick-and-mortar retailers, they’re redefining the retail environment with tech-driven experiences.
Cosmetics giant SK-II recently opened a pop-up in San Francisco that embodies this new trend. Guests were treated to technologies like facial scanning for optimal cosmetics, all while indulging in product immersions via beauty treatments.
Likewise, businesses like Virtual Visions offer smart displays for retailers, allowing shoppers to check for inventory both in the store and warehouse.
This is good news for mom-and-pop sellers who are no longer obligated to keep their entire inventory in-house. As Brian Jeong, Group Delphi’s Business Development Executive says, “It’s the retail industry 4.0. Stores can add to their inventory from 60 to 90 percent. There’s less display, more cash flow.”
AI Goes Retail
There are also advances in the equipment used to sell products.
“You’re seeing technology like AI, facial-scanning, eye-tracking through the store,” says Salinger.
Technology isn’t just being used for the customers. “Companies can now track people’s movement through stores and offices to determine the most efficient use of space,” Jeong says.
Flagship stores have set sail.
You can see these trends most obviously with the biggest brands, who have already gone all-in on the latest innovations.
Flagship stores like Nike have already incorporated the use of smartphones in their spaces. Fashion retailer Barney’s is doing the same, offering apps to connect shoppers and personalize their shopping experience, while the store itself will be able to recognize in-house shoppers from their online activity.
Experiential will be essential to the rebirth and growth of retail. Indeed, as Salinger observes, “Younger audiences accustomed to online are making the effort to come into the store.”