Monday 19 June 2017
For architects, the greatest challenge of our time is putting physical stores back on the map. The physical store is not dead - and never was - but it has been given a new role. After several troubled years, the era of ‘and-and’ appears to have dawned. The retail sector is opting for both the digital and the physical. The traditional retailer uses the digital world in its marketing strategy, and the digital retail sector also recognises the importance of having a presence in the shopping district.
‘Smart’ and ‘by-heart’
The consumer has found a new balance between ‘smart shopping’ on the internet and ‘by-heart shopping’ on the high street. He wants both: as one product lends itself well to online purchasing, while the other does not. Consumers mainly buy basic commodities with little emotional value on the internet. Here, price plays a decisive role. For products with more emotional value, we prefer to be tempted into physical stores. We want to see, smell and feel what we buy. Price is less important; it is the sensory experience that gives us the push that makes us decide to buy.
The need for a ‘home’
There is therefore belief again in the power of being visible in the built environment. A brand cannot only live in the virtual world; it needs a ‘home’ on the high street; a place customers can visit without any obligation, as well as a place where they can feel part of the brand. For the ‘shopper by heart’ the experience of the (store) brand is essential. In the food retail sector, it is largely the products themselves that create that experience. The colours, smells and tastes of the ingredients have an immediate positive effect on the senses. In addition, consumers are curious about the origin of the product and about how to prepare it in the most delicious way. Kitchens, chefs, inspiring recipes and workshops; food is experience.
Non-food products can also have a sensory appeal. You can touch them, feel the material, measure them, try them on - and of course share them. The experience is also influenced by the atmosphere in the store, the service provided, and the other visitors and customers. Customers ask: Is this my world? Is this something I want to be a part of? The promise may be greater than the customer himself, so that he has a sense of belonging, and the courage to take a step further. Being seen in the store, being part of it - this is difficult to achieve on the internet.
Coming home with a story
After visiting the store, you want to come home with a story, one about something special that you experienced, the unique environment in which it took place or the personal service you received. That reflects on you: you found it, you discovered this treasure, opened it and recognised it was special, and that is something you want to share, at home or with friends.
How to create an ‘experience’:
JosDeVries The Retail Company BV
3605 MA Maarssen, P.O. Box 1194
NL-3600 BD Maarssen
tel. : +31(0)346 - 563764
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