Remember when people once believed going to an office was the only way to work? Even before the pandemic, that bubble started to burst as the rise in work-from-home situations started to take hold. Since then, that form of employment is practically the norm. But the lack of face-to-face human interaction (especially after almost two years apart) has actually led to hybrid-work situations as a preferred form of employment.
The retail landscape is in the same spot. For months and months, society had to do almost everything digitally, and while digital isn’t going anywhere, the desire for in-store experiences and seamless omnichannel experiences is redefining how consumers shop. In essence, consumers want it all — the option to buy online, the option to buy in-store, the option to buy online and pick purchases up in-store. So it’s vital that retail brands don’t neglect their physical spaces. A great in-store experience is still desired by customers, and now more than ever, it’s expected. Below are some insights as to why — plus a few tips on how to make yours the best yet.
Consumers Are Ready to Hit Retail In the Real World
After close to two years indoors, people are excited to leave their homes behind and head outside to rediscover the world. Trying new restaurants (or visiting old favorites), heading to museums and the movies, and of course, checking out what’s new in stores are all back in fashion. In fact, new research from OAAA and Harris Poll shows that there’s a significant rise in consumer comfort with all modes of transportation. In cities with populations of one million-plus residents, 58% of people feel safe traveling by subway; and countrywide, more than 60% of adults feel safe using taxis or ride shares. This boost in transportation will translate to an increase in in-store visits and — ultimately — more sales, so it’s important that your online presence provides the most up-to-date information about your retail spaces and all its offerings.
Omnichannel Strategies Are Where It’s At — So Use Them To Your Advantage
As noted in a recent National Retail Foundation podcast, “Retail Gets Real”, the future of brick-and-mortars (contrary to popular belief) is looking pretty bright. The notion of doom and gloom due to the uptick of online and mobile shopping, pre- and post-pandemic, isn’t so bleak if brands can seamlessly offer a consistent customer experience across all channels. Physical stores, for their part, will continue to be a vital part of that success. The outcome? Enhanced brand equity and increased customer loyalty. How to get there? Educate yourself in this area, devise strategies, and seek out the best technology to implement ideas.
The Benefits of Social Commerce — Welcome to the Metaverse
While authentic shopping experiences remain top of mind for consumers, immersive ones are in demand too, as noted in the Business Times. Interactive retail is quickly becoming the ideal way to bridge the gap between in-store and online, and the use of virtual reality is increasing as a way for consumers to accurately picture themselves with the products they are considering purchasing. With an effective use of social commerce, brands can drive their customers to stores by showcasing experiences in the best light. Besides, a little FOMO never hurt anyone, especially when it helps drive sales while keeping customers happy.
As consumer shopping habits continue to evolve, retailers who have an integrated solution that connects multiple channels — in store, online, and on the go — will navigate the new landscape to success as long as they have the right tech to guide them.