Designing a seamless & innovative retail customer experience in 2019 - Part 2
- 5 mins read
Published on Wednesday 10th April 2019
In part 2 of this blog post, we look more into why it’s so vital for retail brands to innovate to keep up with growing customer expectations, who is innovating successfully and how you can too.
We will be continuing with our list of retail brands who are innovating well from part 1 of this series :
Nike is a multinational brand, initially engaged in the production of sportswear and equipment but has since branched out into the world of apparel too. The brand's mission is “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. If you have a body, you are an athlete.”
Nike has seamlessly integrated it’s online and offline experiences into one innovative in-store customer experience. If a customer likes an item and wants to find out more about it, they no longer have to search around a busy store to ask a store assistant. Through the use of QR codes, customers lives are made significantly easier by simply scanning the QR code on a mannequin to see everything that the mannequin is dressed in, what is in stock, and sizing information.
Customers no longer even have to carry their chosen products around the store- they can simply send their item to a virtual bag, just like they would online. The items can also be added to a ‘try-on list’ and when they are ready, they can digitally send them to the changing rooms to try on. This creates an easy and VIP shopping experience that features the bonuses of online and in-store shopping combined.
Made.com initially only designed and retailed homewares and furniture online, however it has now also become a huge player in the world of physical retail. It uses showrooms (not stores) to create an engaging in-store experience for customers.
For Made’s Soho showroom, digital technology is integral to the customer experience. The showroom has iPads placed throughout, allowing shoppers to search and discover their wide range of products online. Made also have QR codes attached to each of their products in-store, allowing customers to easily purchase what they see online in-store.
The perks of shopping online (e.g. the ease and wide range) have been seamlessly integrated with the perks of shopping in-store - customers can physically try out furniture and touch and feel the fabrics, get personalised style advice, and go along to workshops. The overall aim is to act as an intermediary between the offline and online environments, enabling the brand to build a more personal and deeper rooted relationship with their customers.
Made.com grew an amazing 51.7% last financial year, turning over £91 million worth of sales.
As made clear throughout this post, retail brands are beginning to see the huge value behind innovation and partnering with digital technology to create in-store experiences.
‘89% of businesses are expected to compete mainly on customer experience.’
Farfetch and Lush are just two examples of innovating brands who are also amongst the fastest growing UK retailers, proving that innovation really is working;
Initially, Farfetch was an online-only portal for luxury fashion boutiques. However, the business has now launched its ‘Store of the Future’ concept that they are currently trialling in London. The store is described by the Founder Jose Neves as an augmented retail solution that “links the online and offline worlds, using data to enhance the retail experience.” (The Store Front 2017). Examples of innovative technology that they are currently using are touch-screen mirrors, digitally connected clothing racks, and sign-in stations that help collect that all-valuable customer data. Their ongoing innovation is also being driven by their engagement in the new shoppable Instagram feature which reaches a huge 1 million followers around the world. As a result, the business has had a huge sales growth of 65% in its last financial year (RetailWeek 2018).
“The next stage in the evolution of the fashion industry is the connected store, which uses technology to enhance the luxury retail experience to become even more customer-centric.”
Jose Neves - Founder and CEO of Farfetch
Lush has recently introduced technology into their stores to create a more seamless customer experience, as well as striving to better align its app with the physical stores. For example, they have introduced a visual search tool, allowing users to find out more information on a product by scanning it with their phone camera. The brand is also trying out a voice-activated assistant ‘Lush Concierge’. Customers can ask the assistant questions e.g. ‘Where is the nearest store?’. It also enables staff to find out stock levels and other product information. Lastly, lush has started to use tablets for transactions, meaning customers can pay anywhere in the store, are given more payment options and faster overall transactions. This means that customers are more likely to make a purchase. Reports have shown that Lush’s revenue has risen by 20% since the introduction of the tablets (Econsultancy 2018).
The focus within the retail industry will persist in moving away from the product itself and onto selling customer experiences instead. According to Propeller, 37% of retail brands are expanding or creating new in-store experiences, and this number is only expected to grow and grow….
How Graphite can help….
We have worked alongside successful retailers such as Costa, Uniqlo and Safilo to create innovative digital solutions to their problems and challenges in order to help progress and grow their businesses. We often start this process with a design sprint. Get in touch with us via the form below to talk more about how we can help your business keep up with your competitors by innovating and creating exceptional digital experiences for your customers.