Over the past decade, shoppers have been abandoning the in-store experience in favour of online shopping. In order to boost offline appeal and regain customers, marketing strategies must focus on adapting to the changes, rather than fighting against them. So, how do retailers increase their customer retention by offering a more personalised shopping experience? Where The Trade Buys, who offer book printing services, take a closer look.
The travel sector has faced significant difficulties due to the rise of online travel agents. With companies such as Airbnb and a plethora of agents taking their businesses online, physical travel agents have had to think of innovative ways to retain the holiday booking experience as an offline task. Virgin Holidays have taken this on board and created a string of concept stores to revitalise the booking experience. The stores include mocked up airplane cabins and virtual reality technologies to take customers on a simulated tour of a destination. By playing on sensory features, Virgin are capitalising on the ‘real’ elements which are far harder for digital to replicate. They have essentially gone back to basics, providing a friendly, visual experience in order to help trigger conversions. This exemplifies the fact that certain personalisation methods in retail are exclusive to the offline space, and 22% of younger and older families still book their holiday in store which proves the value.
Creating a bespoke experience
In order to create a tailored experience, it’s important to know your audience. By providing the relevant discounts, customers are more likely to feel drawn towards a purchase as the offer is based on their previous buying habits with the brand. Urban Outfitters use their reward scheme to dish out points to shoppers, even just by paying a visit to the store. Incentives like these can provide the fuel for a conversion, as well as a trip to the shops. Many stores offer memberships or points cards, which offer regular treats or an annual vouchers provide the motivation for a purchase, as simple as it might sound!
Combining elements of online and offline
Retailers have been introducing digital features into their stores. Before the age of department stores and supermarkets, stores were small and independent, which made for strong rapports with customers. However, the emergence of large, modern stores made shopping a far less sociable activity. When online furniture and homeware retailer Made.com decided to take a leap of faith and open a physical store, they kept this concept at the heart of their plans. The recently relaunched Soho London showroom captured the best of both worlds, from QR codes to assist in locating products to staff lead workshops for customers to attend. By doing so, they struck the perfect balance between the offline and online world.
Data has shown that over 70% of consumers would be more likely to make purchases from a brand that recognized them by name. Analytics can provide customer information which assists with personalisation, and this is key to building brand loyalty. The iconic jeweler Tiffany and Co. brought a breath of fresh air to the opening of their Covent Garden store, creating a ‘Style Studio’ where they sell more than just their luxury jewels. Homeware and accessories have been added to the range, to give the brand a better positioning in the everyday life of their customers, found within the exquisite on brand studio, finished in the company’s classic duck egg blue. Further features such as a personalisation station called #MakeItTiffany where customers can get jewellery items engraved. The aesthetic of the store also targets the Instagram generation of younger shoppers, and the store is an experience within itself.
Human elements are the most difficult to replicate online, therefore retail is effectively playing to its own advantage by boosting the presence of personalisation by creating a shopping experience which is tailored to the customer.