If you are part of the retail industry, three points should be already pretty clear for you:
People will approach their experiences without a rigid division between channels: experiences will happen between different places, devices and interactions.
We get in touch with the brand in our commuter train, at bed, through socials, by entering a physical place to try the product or looking for a personal advise. It is all about brand touchpoints, without a prior and single entering point.
Which is the new role of a retail newtwork within a wider channels integrations is a big and intriguing question mark.
We are all discovering new possibilities to interact, shop, learn, with a click or a tap on a screen: it would be untrue to claim it is all gold, “different and new” are not always synonym of better, especially if during the ongoing chaotic adaptation of our life to something abrupt.
Innovation means to achieve better ways to experience something: it’s not defined by simply disappearing into a digital dimension or demolishing everything to re-built. Let’s wisely ride the wave of this unexpected (even if unluck) design opportunity to get better in our lives, taking the best of who we are and of what we have experienced.
Phygital retail is a new “inside-out” experience: we have now several different opportunities to approach a brand, buy a product, take profit of a service, that should be more and more integrated and frictionless.
“On the go” shopping is not only about a qr-code along the metro line to buy something simple: it’s the idea of an everywhere experience with a flexible attitude depending on who you are and what you are searching for.
People are wonderfully imperfect and unique: don’t try to educate them to the perfect way to live a brand shopping experience; they want to solve a need or fulfill a desire in a pleasant way they are confident with.
Carol buy on line 10 times more than her husband, but often she does not use the official app and go through website even on mobile. Sometimes she goes to the shop without even checking new collection online. Why? Who (partially) cares! She will take the best of what you offer, she’ll fail, she’ll discover later your wonderful app with AR shopping and she will (maybe partially) adapt.
She initially wants a shirt, not a customer experience: but she will choose and come back for the customer experience and the product all together.
Experiences should not be a guinea pig path, but open, simple, flexible and valuable opportunities, fundamental around a shirt purchase, often becoming the reason why of the purchase.
If you decide to shift your warehouse retail model to an experiential touchpoint with just the three most appealing items you have, because it’s cost wise for the company, you should have clear the counter value for the customers and how to communicate the new model: it should be engaging, valuable, appealing for your target, avoiding the perception of just a corporate side benefit.
It’s the good old customer centric approach, but with the twist that sometime innovation is ahead of people expectations, so you should build confidence, set expectations, make them easily understand the benefit of something new
If you substitute the staff from the counter desks with atms or mobile payments, some people will appreciate the newsness cause they are digital natives (or pretend to be…), some other will complain.
Be smooth and cool with the digital natives, you are on the same page and you are the best in town in it. Transmit and explain how better is this for the old schooler, you will be surprised how fast they’ll adopt the newness. Otherwise the complaints will subdue any good reviews.
Some good industry ideas and a subtle copycat from the competitors’ best cases, with a personalized brand twist is not enough anymore. Let’s take inspiration from other industries, adapting interesting experiences from totally different landscapes: it will help to provide a strong innovation with the people already used to, but totally surprised to live the same into another sector.
You don’t have to pretend to be a restaurant, if you are an insurance: there are is not enough ROI and you can’t compete with other entities.
But adopting some elements ( maybe in partnership with someone competent) will work to render the experience innovative and unique, like the que system for a telco store with a fast food buzzer devices, or an insurance integrating with an app based service partner that delivers car wash wherever you like in the city.
It’s like base jumping: it takes anyway courage to innovate out of your comfort zone but it’s -pretty- safe for you to take profit of other successful cases from other industries, transferring some elements that make sense to your market, creating remarkable and distinctive propositions coherent with customer habits outside the relationship with your brand.