As seen on Accenture, Publicis Sapient, Parcel Monitor, Tinuiti, Bernard Marr, Denave
Online was always growing fast, but COVID gave it another tremendous boost. Now offline need to keep up. With more costs to run and less traffic, brands are rethinking the role of traditional retail. As Tinuiti is stating, though the reality is that brick-and-mortar stores will sell less, they have the opportunity to provide value by strengthening customers’ relationships with the brand.
Immersive, Instagrammable experiences, aka “retailtainment,” can bring the brand alive in a way that digital means can’t. Interactive displays, personalized branding, and the use of AR and VR will help drive brand loyalty and engrossing shopping experiences. Aside from this, consumers are expecting to see a whole range of online services offline as well. This includes visit planners, extended digital assortment, O2O, contactless shopping, etc.
Those are some examples, quoted from a range of different trend reports.
- Take Nike’s Time Square flagship store, for example, which has a basketball court with cameras to record shots and treadmills with screens mimicking famous running routes. Though it’s not a huge sales driver, that’s not its purpose. It’s become a huge tourist attraction that boosts brand engagement and awareness. (Tinuiti)
- Meanwhile, Marvel found a valuable promotional tool in their touring Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N., an immersive exhibit that has pulled in huge crowds all around the world. Through interactive displays and real-life movie props, the franchise invites fans to step into the cinematic world that’s delighted them for years. (Tinuiti)
- One technique used by Lidl is the treasure hunt experience. With this, people come in-store knowing they’ll come across amazing offers and products, but those items won’t be around for long. They devote about 20% of a store to ‘Lidl Surprises,’ a selection of unexpected goods in limited quantities, rotated weekly. (InfluencerMarketingHub)
- Other stores focus on building communities. Some bookstores even encourage people to remain in-store and read the books they have bought. (InfluencerMarketingHub)
- Some big retailers are now setting up smaller cut-down specialist stores, e.g., Ikea has opened a range of Ikea Home Planning Studios. Others create mini-stores that are stores-within-stores. Best Buy, Macy’s, JCPenney, and Apple have all tried this in recent years. (InfluencerMarketingHub)
- Some retailers, like Nordstrom, are adding amenities like coffee shops or restaurants close to pickup and return areas, giving shoppers a comfortable place to wait for their turn, while also encouraging transactions. Other brands leverage digital queues that let shoppers schedule pickup times or offer product lockers for contactless collection—all managed on a mobile device. (PublicisSapient)
- Loblaw has been changing the way Canadians shop since 1919, and it was the first grocer to offer click-and-collect to shoppers in Canada. The strategic rollout of express click-and-collect pickup has put 75 percent of Canadians within 10 minutes of a Loblaw location, making order collection easy while expanding the grocer’s footprint. (PublicisSapient)
- When Audi wanted to bring its showrooms to crowded city centers, it introduced Audi City, the first all-digital vehicle showroom. It is an experience powered by seamless gesture control and one-to-one rendering of life-size vehicles, combined with real-time pricing and availability that give buyers a completely new, transformative approach to car buying. (PublicisSapient)