To mark International Customer Experience Day, Valentina Candeloro, International Marketing Director at Mood Media, shares her insights on what the future holds for in-store Customer Experience…

Mood Media recently conducted a study, Back to the Future: The Evolution of the In-Store Customer Experience, which examined the innovations that were decisive turning points in retail history, looking back from the 1800s with a view to anticipating how Customer Experience (CX) will look in the store of the future.

The retail sector will face a variety of new challenges in the next 50 years, and as history has taught us: with challenges come opportunities. Our research concluded that the most successful stores will be those that enhance their CX beyond a more traditional “try and buy” model – and offer additional engagement to secure shopper loyalty.

Creating multi-sensory experiences – and finding new ways to incorporate digital innovations into the in-store experience – will be crucial to the stores of the future.

Another recent research paper, The State of Brick and Mortar 2017, saw Mood Media investigating customers’ shopping behaviours globally. We found that younger generations – the shoppers of the future – are most receptive to digital advancements, with almost a third excited about prospective in store innovations. Moreover, they are also interested in becoming an integrated part of the in-store experience themselves.

For example, our study found that more than three quarters of Generation Z consumers (aged 18-24) affirm they would like the opportunity to influence music played in store.

This insight sits neatly alongside our recently launched ‘Social Mix’ feature. This allows customers in  the store to view a retailer’s live song line-up via their mobile, then vote for the songs they want to hear next.

The most popular song rises to the top of the playlist. Essentially, customers have a say in actively deciding what they want their in-store experience to sound (and feel) like.

Retailers are already exploring uniqueness of experience as a way to entice more shoppers and, moving forward, this will become ever more important.

We anticipate that brands will introduce the analysis of ‘feel data’ (that scientifically measures and analyses millions of emotional data), in order to understand their customers’ feelings in front of audio and visual content during an in-store experience to ultimately be able to further tailor the service. This in turn will no doubt influence future innovation in a wider context.

Ultimately, all retailers will have to consider that any in store innovation should offer a means to augment sensorial experiences, which our study found that consumers around the globe still crave and will continue to do so.

Over 78 percent of global customers cited ‘the ability to touch, feel, and try products’ as the main reason for them to shop offline, highlighting that senses play a vital role in our shopping experience.

Additionally, being able to speak to a store assistant was cited as one of the top three reasons to shop in store, emphasising the want to incorporate a human element into our shopping experience.

While the world gravitates towards digitalisation, there is still a desire to gratify our primal senses. The cleverest retailers will use audio-visual development as a means to enhance the means to touch, feel, try and talk in store.

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