E-commerce has drastically changed the retail landscape and the way consumers shop. Recently, there has been a shift from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping. This is due to the convenience and 24/7 accessibility of e-commerce, which was especially appealing during the pandemic.
However, that does not mean that traditional retail stores are dead. The in-store experience allowing customers to touch, feel, and try on products is still an essential factor in the retail industry. However, it does mean that retailers must get creative to stay afloat.
Consumer behavior has shifted, and shoppers now expect a more personalized, convenient, and engaging shopping experience.
To meet these new demands, retailers are turning to interactive and immersive technologies to create an interactive and immersive retail experience.
What Does the Term “Immersive” Mean?
The word “immersive” means to engage someone so deeply in an activity or experience that they forget about the outside world. In other words, it is a way to transport someone into another world.
Retailers can do this through various mediums, such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR).
- VR uses computer-generated imagery to create a realistic, three-dimensional environment that people can interact with.
- AR overlays digital information in the real world. This can be done through smartphone apps or wearable devices like glasses or contact lenses.
- MR is a combination of VR and AR. It blurs the line between the digital and physical worlds.
Retailers are utilizing these technologies to create an interactive and immersive shopping experience.
The rise of augmented reality has allowed retailers to bridge the gap between the online and offline worlds. Especially for products such as clothes, shoes, and makeup, AR apps allow shoppers to try on products before they purchase them virtually.
61% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a retailer that offers AR, and another 40% of customers are willing to pay more money for a product if they can use AR to try it on first.
What is Interactive and Immersive Retail?
Interactive retail uses technology to engage customers and create a more customized shopping experience, while immersive retail uses technology to transport shoppers into a virtual world.
Both shopping experiences are designed to meet the changing demands of consumers. Interactive and immersive retail allows shoppers to touch and feel products without physically being in the retail store. They also provide a more personalized and convenient shopping experience tailored to the individual shopper.
By using experiential marketing techniques to engage shoppers, retailers can increase brand loyalty by creating a unique shopping experience that will keep shoppers coming back for more.
What Experiences Can a Person Have in Immersive Retail?
You can expect to be transported into a different world when you enter an experiential retail environment. There are endless possibilities for immersive retail experiences.
For example, a shopper could:
- Try on clothes in a virtual fitting room.
- Test out makeup in a virtual makeup studio
- Use mobile apps to scan products and get more information about them.
- Have a virtual assistant help you with your shopping
- Walk through a digital version of the physical store to find products.
- View products in 360 degrees to see them from all angles
- See how a piece of furniture would look in your home.
- Experience a product’s manufacturing process
- Experience what it would be like to drive a car before purchasing it
- Take a virtual tour of a vacation destination before booking a trip.
- Customize products to your liking
- Play games, puzzles, and quizzes
The possibilities for how retailers can use experiential retail to engage consumers are endless. By incorporating interactive and immersive technologies, retailers can create a truly unique and differentiated shopping experience.
Why is This Different From Physical Stores?
A brick-and-mortar store is a physical retail space where shoppers can see, touch, and feel products and shop in-store. It aims to increase sales by providing a convenient and accessible shopping experience.
An experiential retail environment is different because it uses technology to provide customers with a more personal and interactive way. It focuses on engaging the customer and providing a unique experience that cannot be replicated in physical stores.
As customers’ expectations change, successful immersive retail experiences:
Employ Experiential Retail Strategies
By using experiential marketing techniques, retailers can engage shoppers on an emotional level and create a more memorable experience.
When creating an experiential retail strategy, it is crucial to consider the following:
- What kind of experience do you want your customers to have?
- How can you use interactive and immersive technologies to create this experience?
- Where do your customers interact with your brand?
- How can you use these touchpoints to create a more engaging and personal shopping experience?
Focus on Customer Journey
The customer journey is a customer’s path when interacting with your brand. It includes all customer touch points with your company, from awareness to purchase.
It is essential to focus on the customer journey, which means understanding how customers interact with your brand and their needs at each stage of their journey.
Experiential retail environments are designed to meet customers where they are in their journey and provide a seamless shopping experience that is convenient and easy to use.
By understanding the customer journey, you can create a more personalized and engaging shopping experience that meets customers’ needs at each stage.
Inspire Creative Ways and Innovation
The use of interactive and immersive technologies in retail is constantly evolving. As new technologies are developed, there are endless possibilities for how retailers can use them to create a more engaging and personal shopping experience.
To create a genuinely creative and innovative consumer experience, retailers must be willing to experiment with different technologies and think outside the box. It is vital to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in experiential retail and be open to new ideas.
You can create genuinely immersive shopping experiences that will engage and inspire customers by being creative and innovative.
Stimulate Customers’ Senses
Many retailers can use interactive and immersive technologies to stimulate all customers’ senses. This is important because it allows customers to connect with your brand deeper.
When creating an experiential retail strategy, consider how you can use technology to stimulate the senses. For example, you could use virtual reality to transport customers to another world or use scent machines to create a signature scent for your store.
By stimulating the senses, you can create an immersive and genuinely appealing shopping experience that leaves a mark on customers.
What About Customer Experience and Store Associates?
An experiential retail environment improves customer satisfaction by providing a customized and immersive experience.
By using experiential marketing techniques, brick-and-mortar retailers can engage shoppers emotionally and create a more memorable experience. This results in improved customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
While the focus of experiential retail is on the customer, it is vital to consider the role of store associates in creating a positive customer experience. Many consumers prefer the human connection that they get from in-store experiences.
Store representatives are often the first point of contact and serve customers in various ways, such as providing product information, helping with product selection, and checkout.
They play a crucial role in creating a positive shopping experience that influences purchasing decisions. Excellent customer service from friendly store employees can be the difference between a satisfied customer and a lost sale.
By training store representatives on the importance of customer service and creating a positive consumer experience, you can ensure that your customers have a great experience from start to finish.
What Can We Learn in Terms of Consumer Behavior From Immersive Retail?
Interactive and immersive retail experiences can provide valuable insights into consumer behavior. Understanding how customers interact with your brand can improve the user experience and create a more engaging consumer experience.
By tracking interactions with store visitors, retailers can learn valuable information such as:
- What motivates customers
- What drives purchase decisions
- What types of experiences do they prefer?
- What products are being viewed
- How long customers are spending in certain areas
- What type of interactions are most popular
This data can be used to improve the layout of your retail store, create targeted marketing campaigns, and improve overall customer satisfaction.
To create a true one-of-a-kind and immersive retail experience, it is crucial to understand the needs and wants of your customers. By understanding consumer behavior, you can create a shopping experience tailored to their needs and preferences.
Best Examples of Interactive and Immersive Retail Experiences
If you’re curious about the whole “immersive” retail experience and want to incorporate this into your physical retail stores, here are some ideas you can take from other businesses.
Interactive Displays and Mirrors
Interactive displays and mirrors are versatile elements that customers can use in various ways to create an immersive experience. One of the most common ways to utilize interactive displays and mirrors is to exhibit product information, such as product details, pricing, and availability.
Another way to use interactive displays and mirrors is to create a virtual dressing room. This can be done by installing a mirror that allows shoppers to see how they would look in an outfit before making a purchase.
You can also use interactive displays as a medium for your customers to customize their purchases. For example, Nike’s flagship store in NYC allows customers to design their shoes using an interactive touch screen display.
In-store apps are another big thing today. There are many different ways to use an in-store app. For example, you can use it to allow customers to scan and purchase items without going through the traditional checkout process.
You can also use your in-store app as a loyalty program. This can be done by offering rewards and exclusive discounts to customers who use your app while shopping in your store.
Since QR codes are becoming more popular, you can also use your app to generate QR codes that customers can scan to get additional product information.
A great example of an in-store app is the one IKEA made. IKEA has created a virtual reality app that allows customers to see how their furniture would look in their homes before they make a purchase.
Omnichannel retail provides a seamless and integrated shopping experience across all online and offline channels.
With an omnichannel, your customers can continue shopping where they left off. This is effective because it does not disrupt the customer’s shopping journey.
To provide an omnichannel experience, you must have a solid and integrated digital presence. Your website, mobile app, and social media channels should all be connected and working together.
A multi-sensory retail experience allows customers to engage with your brand through more than one or all five senses. Retailers can create this type of immersive experience by using elements such as scent, sound, and touch.
For example, you can use scents to create a certain mood in your store. You can also use sound to guide customers’ attention to specific products or areas in your store. Lastly, you can utilize touch by allowing customers to try out products before they buy them.
Many tech companies are now using virtual reality to create a multi-sensory experience for their customers.
Taking Shopping Experiences to the Next Level
There is no wrong or right way to incorporate immersive shopping experiences in your store. The best way to do this is by carefully identifying what resonates best with your customers and how you can translate this into immersive elements.
If you’re looking to upgrade your customer’s in-store shopping experience, we can help. Felbro Displays specializes in designing and manufacturing high-quality immersive and interactive retail displays.
We offer a wide range of engineering, design, and manufacturing services to create the perfect display for your brand. We’ve worked with hundreds of brands and helped them achieve their business goals with immersive designs.
If you want to do the same for your business, contact us at (800) 733-5276. Make eye-catching POP designs for your products and services now!