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4min785

Retailers resigned to a significant drop in footfall this year should take advantage of multi-sensory innovations to draw consumers back in-store, research suggests.

A new report commissioned by Mood Media found that over 60% of retailers expect their footfall to drop or remain the same in 2017. However, the same report highlighted that 77% of customers would pick a bricks-and-mortar store over online if stores provided a more engaging, multi-sensory experience, leveraging music, scents and visuals.

The report, which analysed insight from senior directors from several international retailers and surveyed 2,000 consumers, also showed a demand for interactive features that provide sensory stimulation to be included in the in-store experience, with particular interest shown by younger shoppers.

For example, over 85% of shoppers aged 18-34 professed to being excited by both the ability to influence the music playing in-store, as well as the introduction of virtual reality to the retail space.

The potential to receive mobile promotions while shopping also received almost unanimous backing from young people, with more than 80% of the same age group interested in such readily redeemable offers.

Valentina Candeloro, Marketing Director International at Mood Media, says: Despite the ease of use e-commerce offers, there are still a number of limitations it faces, with the vibrancy and atmosphere of the in-store experience being – to date – impossible for e-commerce to replicate.”

“It’s fundamentally important that retailers take advantage of these benefits and focus their attention on sensorial innovations that improve the overall experience. The customer experience should be seamless between instore and digital environments.”

The report also found that consumers’ enjoyment of the in-store experience is heavily influenced by music, with 8 in 10 shoppers acknowledging that they like hearing music while they shop and almost 80% finding waiting times to be less dull if there is background music playing.

Candeloro added: “There certainly seems to be an assertion that online retail is on the verge of taking over but this notion doesn’t correspond with the demands of consumers. The research suggests that while retailers seem relatively pessimistic, consumers plan to continue going in store for their shopping – especially the youngest generation, which one would expect to be totally digitally-dependent.”

 “This demonstrates that if retailers exploit their opportunities to maximise consumer engagement, they can ensure their ability to continue to drive footfall and maintain customer loyalty”.

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4min901

A new study that analyses the history of in-store customer experience and anticipates how the store of the future will look has been released. Carried out by Mood Media, global leader in elevating customer experience, the research highlights retail innovations that represent key milestones in the evolution of the customer experience from the 19th century through to the present day and beyond.

The team analysed eight historical periods, going from 1800 to 2050, identifying and observing different indicators of customer experience in each era: store format, atmosphere, services offered to customers, shop windows and payment methods. Four key lessons could be drawn from the analysis:

Emotion as the core vector of the customer experience: this goes back to the 18th century with the creation of the first commercial galleries in France, Italy and the UK. In the 19th century, the movement grew with the advent of department stores. With their size, broad choice of products and technological innovation of their time (electricity), they succeeded in revolutionising the consumer journey, laying the foundations of modern commerce.

Sensorial marketing started developing in the ‘20s with the first recorded backgound music. In 1970 we witnessed the advent of shop windows. The brands of tomorrow will be able to measure emotional data, referred to as “feel data”.

Personalisation: Customisation applies to all criteria of the customer experience (store format, services, products or customer relationship). This is a trend that intensified with the development of geolocalisation, the arrival of 3D printing and augmented reality. Personalised prices will soon follow – could this be the end of standard pricing?

Experience vs flows management: at the beginning of the 20th century, customers became more autonomous, due to different factors, such as price tags and changing rooms. Grocery stores started developing their strategy around the management of flows, while retailers started focusing on the concept of pleasure and experience.

Stores as life environments: Will physical stores still need to exist when customers may be able to see products via augmented reality or even 3D print them at home? Is there a point in keeping brick and mortar shops open? The history of the customer experience shows that physical stores have become part of our lives, where we go to discover, be inspired and socialise. Additionally, time is a factor that still needs to be considered. Even when deliveries are made by drones, or products can be printed at home, nothing will be faster than choosing, testing, trying and buying an item.

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