Recently I spoke with a Regional Manager of a well known and respected high-street store. She explained to me that she had overseen a huge growth in sales in one of their new stores in Berkshire. When I asked her how she had done this she explained; “It was very simple; I taught the sales team to sell”
She went on to explain that the store had plenty of visitors to their store, but they had been damaged by shoppers “show-rooming” (store visitors would seek advice and look at or test products, leaving empty-handed to buy online later).
This got me thinking; I assumed that online shopping was for convenience; getting my clothes, consumer electronics and even pet food delivered to my door is easier than going to the shops. However, judging by this experience; perhaps that’s not what we consumers really want. Maybe we still like to visit stores.
There is evidence to back this up:
- Online shopping is growing (online retail sales have increased 14% y/y), but this growth is slower than had been predicted.
- According to surveys conducted in 2017, Millennials still like the experience of shopping in the high-street.
- Millennials will consistently visit shops where their loyalty will offer them discounts or improved deals.
- Previously “online only” brands such as Amazon are now opening high-street outlets.
Sales from high-street shops account for the largest proportion of all retail sales by far (83%). The smart organizations are those that accept the trend towards online shopping and use this to help customers transition from their device to their store.
For this to happen, there needs to be a consistency in a users online and offline (in-store) experience. Clients need to be able to experience brand familiarity, be immersed in a lifestyle (aspirational content), allowed to interact with products; designing their appearance or perhaps choosing colour combinations.
To be successful on the high street, retail businesses should use the great online content that they are now creating and bring it to their stores. This gives the shopper the feeling of being wrapped in a buying experience and blurs the line between buying online or offline. One method that has proven extremely effective is to use a digital canvas; a large, high-resolution digital display.
Imagine sitting in a travel agent whilst planes buzz quietly overhead and the sea laps at your feet on seamless displays; or trying clothes in a changing room whilst other similar clothing options are offered to you.
A digital canvas can help a business create this kind of in-store experience. LED technology now allows businesses to flexibly design their customers’ digital surroundings as they enter or browse around the shop. Screen size and shape is highly customizable, so it’s the content that drives the shape and size of the display, not the other way around.
Smaller independent shops can use lower-cost LCD displays to create a similar experience for their visitors.
High-street shopping has continually changed to keep pace with how we consumers like to shop and to stay ahead of the competition. Today’s competition is not online, it is still other similar businesses. Those that offer the better digital experience are likely to be those that are most successful.
Darren Barton-Taylor – Sales Director – Focus 21 Visual Communications