Customers want a unique in-store experience.
In order to compete with the Internet and attract today’s savvy shopper, many brick-and-mortar stores are transforming their model. Retailers are more focused than ever on their customers’ experience. In fact, more than half of consumers surveyed by PwC’s 2017 Holiday Outlook, plan to shop at small-targeted boutiques and independent retailers.
The advantage of boutiques and independent retailers over larger stores comes from the intimate shopping environment tailored to their brand and customers. By providing one-of-a-kind experiences, large brick-and-mortar stores can increase their appeal to today’s shoppers who seek an emotional connection with their brand.
“Shopping online gets the job done, but it’s not an experience,” explains Helen Diemer, Principal of The Lighting Practice.
While many brick-and-mortar locations are increasing their appeal with in-store cafés and restaurants, others are exploring design solutions that increase customer satisfaction.
Stores with a diverse selection of products are channeling the intimate shopping environment of a boutique through themed vignette displays. These displays create visual interest and showcase related products. The themed vignettes help customers visualize how products relate to each other and more importantly to them.
Moving beyond products and placement, lighting is a powerful tool that is often under utilized. Lighting shapes perception and evokes an emotional response. Well-designed lighting can create a comfortable and intimate experience for customers, while highlighting products, encouraging exploration, and reinforcing a store’s brand.
“Brick-and-mortar stores have the opportunity to create an environment that makes people feel special,” Diemer explains. “Lighting supports this experience; it can show off a product and the customers. Lighting can make customers feel good about themselves.”
For many customers, the fitting room is the last stop before checkout. It is the retailer’s final opportunity to sell their product, so lighting can make or break the sale. By incorporating appropriate lighting in fitting rooms brick-and-mortar apparel stores can improve their customers’ experience and increase sales.
Shoppers want to look their best; soft ambient lighting supports that desire. Indirect light fixtures paired with accent lighting provide appropriate illumination and eliminate harsh, unappealing shadows. Lighting integrated into the fitting room mirror provides a soft, direct illumination that elevates the appearance of the customer and the apparel.
As retailers continue to transform their model to succeed in this highly competitive market, they must not lose touch with their biggest differentiator. The Internet may save time and provide a convenient way to purchase products, but it does not support human connection. Retail customers’ desire for unique experiences is their desire to connect with other people. By supporting human connection and developing a brand that connects to their customers’ emotions, brick-and-mortar retailers will continue to grow.