There’s no denying that technology has changed retail. Brands must be willing to learn from, and adapt to, changing consumer needs. If not, they may follow in the steps of Toys "R" Us, Payless Shoesource, and Sears.
One of the most drastic changes has been how today's consumers use technology to research and purchase. Despite the rise of online shopping, consulting firm A.T. Kearney found that 90% of retail sales still happen in physical stores.
So, who are the frontrunners that provide great in-store experiences? Let's take a look:
1. Rebecca Minkoff
Luxury brands are implementing top of the line in-store experiences to maintain a personal and high-class feel in their stores.
U.S. brand, Rebecca Minkoff, is leading the pack by bringing the ease of shopping online in-store, and more specifically, in changing rooms.
Each store has smart mirrors in changing rooms that allow shoppers to browse for other sizes or products that might complement whatever they’re trying on. Meanwhile, smart walls suggest new styles when people pass by or enter. They also let customers order champagne while they browse.
This digitally-driven experience is responsible for a large boost in sales with 30% of customers reportedly requesting additional items thanks to the smart mirror recommendations.
Topshop’s flagship London store also excels at providing a great in-store experience. They offer an in-store nail salon, blow dry bar, and personal shopping, and also reward loyal customers with one-off experiential events.
Past events even include partnerships with global brands. One such example is when they partnered with Netflix to offer a Stranger Things 2 immersive experience before Halloween. This event tapped into the cult following of the TV series, and included windows that mirrored the set and a season two binge-watching party.
This in-store experience followed the success of the giant VR water slide that took participants on a digital rollercoaster through Oxford Street. The installation, to celebrate the start of summer, also included in-store ice cream trucks. Topshop set up a photoshoot at the end of the waterslide to capture the experience and drive social media buzz.
These experiences kept customers in-store for longer, which impacts basket size and brand familiarity. Even more, consumers even subconsciously helped promote the brand thanks to the "shareability" of the experience.
3. Ulta Beauty
At a time when some retailers have seen foot traffic decline, Ulta Beauty is excelling. In 2017, Ulta increased sales 21.9% to a whopping $5.9 billion.
Ulta prides itself on being a beauty superstore, offering everything from low budget to premium items.
They also offer a full-service salon in every store that features hair, skin, brow, and makeup services.
By offering in-store services from beauty experts, Ulta has created a spa-like environment. Instead of being another grab-and-go store, Ulta stores have become a place for customers to spend more time with the guarantee of having a good retail experience.