Creating touchpoints to connect with consumers
By Alexander Shporer, project manager, starrdesign
Connecting consumers with your brand is vital in today's retail world. With so many options and channels competing for attention, retailers need to create a distinct shopping experience where guests can see, touch and connect with your products. This will capture guests' attention and keep them in your stores.
The ability to develop a multi-sensory environment will build brand loyalty and decrease price sensitivity, resulting in devoted consumers who are willing to spend more on products they love.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to creating memorable touchpoints in your store.
However, each approach should be tailored to your specific product and clientele. Here are three factors to keep in mind:
Some companies have been moving toward tech-only stores with minimal human interactions. However, this should not be the ultimate goal for all categories, especially if it is difficult for a typical customer to wrap their mind around your product. For example, jewelry store customers rely heavily on employee expertise to help guide a journey through the selection and purchase process. This interaction is welcomed in an industry that features unusual terminology and a high price point. Moving to complete automation is not always necessary (or the right thing to do!) in this type of retail environment. It may be convenient, but it doesn't allow you to build brand loyalty and it's often not an effective way to capture guests' attention.
Instead of eliminating personal interactions — try offering your space as an oasis from the outside world. In REEDS Jewelers, the company diverged from the typical mall retail jewelry experience and introduced a thoughtful storefront that clearly separated the interior from the rest of the mall. This helped set the stage for consumer/associate interaction in a distinct environment with controlled sound, light and movement. Even if you want to utilize technology in the background for seamless transactions, allow your customer to disconnect from their busy lives and instead develop a personal connection with your brand.
Merchandising, whether small incase elements or large tabletop displays, should be used to create unique experiences that differentiate your brand. Creating a memory touch point based on past shared experiences forms a strong connection between the product and consumer. For example, high end fashion is highly curated and often displayed in cases or custom shelving, providing ample opportunities for merchandising within the units. Using a hand figurine in a tall jewelry case to display a ring and bracelets together can have a strong impact and capture your guests' attention. In most cases, space is limited and you cannot afford to use floor or casework space to create a display. However, walls and overhead shelves are highly visible areas that are often underutilized. For example, a shelf with a rainbow of leg forms was created in HUE, a women's apparel manufacture that allows women to express themselves through brightly colored leggings. The use of a long shelf to display these leg forms created a unique way to capture shoppers' attention.
Telling your brand's story can strengthen the connection with customers — and it can be done in a multitude of ways. Best of all, it doesn't need to be complicated. Figure out what works best for you and your products in the space. The displays should be placed near related products or at major intersections in your store to help direct sales.
Graphics can be used for a wide range of purposes in the store. You can tell your brand story through environmental graphics, or you can create cues for your employees, to ensure they highlight specific product benefits and features. These can be beneficial tools to connect with customers, as long as they are intentional, integrated into the space, and changed throughout the year. Additionally, you can incorporate photographs of merchandising, which provides more flexibility when setting up your store. With Pandora, opportunities were created to display graphics that change out throughout the year for holidays, promotions, and seasons. These help show off the products in a unique way, limiting the need for each store to merchandise on their own. Graphics can also be used in unique settings. Don't solely rely on televisions or wall posters to display advertisements. For example, the back wall in Pandora was designed as a large magnetic graphic that can easily be changed.
Standing independently, these three factors are often not strong enough to create true hands-on touch points. Instead, make sure that they work together to facilitate a unique customer experience. Allow your guests to see your full product line through their journey without feeling forced into it. Using technology, merchandising and graphics, you can elevate your products, as well as your sales goals.