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Peloton showrooms are a great example of this new trend: They not only sell bikes and workout machines, but also fitness clothes, and give customers the opportunity to use its machines with on-screen instructors. This combination brings the gym experience to the customer. Tesla also has showrooms to help customers experience its cars.
Here are three ways you, too, can create more meaningful experiences in your retail shop.
1. Turn your in-person returns into a customer experience opportunity.
Think through the return process that you currently have in place. Now, think of a way to maximize the experience for your customers. Most stores have a return policy that allows customers to buy something online and then return it in person. But have you thought about where you make customers go within your store to return items? If you look at where Amazon installs its pickup and return stations, you will notice they are by the end of the stores. Most people don’t like having to return items, so why not make that experience more meaningful and enjoyable?
Consider launching a section for styling services close to where customers return items. Could you better utilize your floor plan to help customers discover more that your store has to offer? If you have room to expand, launch a mini nail salon next to the area where customers must go to return items.
Thinking through the return experience can help you to deliver more value to your customers so that they enjoy the time they spend at your location. I used to own a clothing store and had a hair and nail salon within the store, which made it more than just a pain to buy clothes.
2. Create family-friendly experiences.
Fewer people are shopping in malls these days, due in large part to the ease of buying items online. This is unfortunate for brick-and-mortar store owners, but family members and groups of friends are still looking for the experience that malls once provided. When I used to go to the mall with my friends, we may have needed new clothes, but we really went to meet up and spend time together.
An example of the importance of experience-building can be seen in Tyra Banks’ latest project, a modeling theme park for girls, set to open in the Santa Monica outdoor shopping mall by the end of 2019. Then there are experiences such as the Museum Ice Cream, where you can interact with ice cream-themed art pieces and meet new people. One brand I work with gives customers access to elaborate high-end sets and professionally produced backdrops in front of which to take selfies.
Think about how you can make the experience in your store memorable and fun for the whole family. Can you make branded backdrops that would be great for customer selfies? (Be sure to come up with a hashtag so visiting customers can tag your brand on social media!)
3. Host community-building offline events.
I pride myself on bringing community together from the online experience to the offline experience. This might take the form of pop-up locations for temporary events to bring an online community together for a good cause. Consider having a social mission in tandem with your business growth goals. I can’t stress this enough — a mission serves as the foundation for community building.
Having a social mission as part of your business brings your customers together under a common interest: to help benefit the social cause you support. This makes for a real connection with the customer that you can’t get online, and it can lead to increased online sales later. When you build an authentic community, customers will think of you when they go to buy something online. Focus on facilitating direct connections to build long-term customers.
The next retail store that I launch will involve cutting-edge fashion virtual reality; instead of a dressing room, patrons will choose what they want to see on themselves in a smart mirror. I want it to be an experience. The next time you are in a retail store, try to notice the elements that create an experience there, and think of how you could add that type of experience to your store.
June 5, 2019 at 08:36AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs