Beyond a Mere Transaction - Future of Retail Series part 3: Retail Experience

User Experience Designer
Valtech SE
User Experience & User Interface designer
Valtech SE

May 14, 2019

The time is 11 a.m., and you are strolling down a big shopping street where you live when you remember that you looked at a shirt from the store you are currently passing. You decide to go in and see if they have it in stock. Much to your annoyance, you discover that there are tons of people in the store today. For many of us, our heart rate would spike upon walking into a store with a lot of people and a stressful environment, with clothes strewn all about. These are typical grievances when consumers shop in-store.

Lots of people and stressful environment

“If I go into a store and there are a lot of people – I turn right around.”

An overcrowded retail environment is stressful for customers. They want a pleasant atmosphere to concentrate on their purchases. 
Consumers often decide not to shop in physical stores, as many of them do not like braving the crowds to find those hidden gems. Many consumers visit stores around the same time of day. This causes crowding and a retail environment that customers find stressful. Consumers want peace and quiet to complete their purchases. 

Poor standard of fitting rooms

“Usually the dressing rooms have bad lighting and are dirty. There is no structure.”

Your blood sugar is where it needs to be, and you decide to try on the shirt you found because the fit can be so variable. The standard is often poor, with long lines and layers of dust on the floor.

Long lines

“I don't buy anything if there is a long line. I shop online instead.”

Does the following scenario ring a bell? After you try on a garment in the fitting room, you walk to the checkout to a seemingly never-ending line. Now that you have made it this far along in your shopping trip, you don't want to abandon ship. Since most people have a similar everyday schedule, the store is always fullest at the same times of day. Lines grow long, and purchases are opted out of when the consumer doesn't feel like standing in line.

Annoying staff

“I don't like it when the store staff smothers me as soon as I come in through the door.”

Do you instead prefer to browse smaller stores where, although the price tags may be slightly higher, you also get a more tranquil experience and larger fitting rooms? Or maybe you have had run-ins with pushy staff? Customers want help when they need it, but staff are encouraged to actively approach the customer.

Trends and business intelligence

There are a number of stores that have begun a transformation process with which they aim to make the in-store experience a better one for the consumer. A brand's physical presence goes hand-in-hand with its digital one, and both are required to boost the conversion rate and reinforce the experience.

Consumer purchasing behavior has changed, and more people are trying on the clothes in-store and then ordering online. Several large online retailers have realized this and opened showrooms instead of stores. The customer tries the garment on there and then has it delivered to their doorstep.

In most markets, be it for clothing or food, home delivery is becoming common. The consumer wants to avoid the stressful environment of stores that are jammed with people, and instead be able to lean back in the couch and have the products delivered the very same day.


About Future of Retail Series

 For a four-week process, we met with consumers and retail staff, both in a deep interview format and informally out on the town, to try to survey which shopping experience needs are currently not being met. With the help of these insights, we have been able to focus on some specific areas. After that, we performed a comprehensive trend monitoring and business intelligence to better understand this highly innovative retail landscape. The study aimed to identify new opportunities for our customers to create the shopping experiences of the future.

Don't miss part 12, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of Future of Retail Series.

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