Convenience has become a modern fixation. Retailers provide it constantly, creating new and smarter ways to make shopping easier and faster.
Hectic lifestyles and ever-present technologies have turned us into an impatient bunch, meaning there’s now an excruciatingly high expectation of what convenience should be.
But if retailers want to survive the next wave of the retail evolution, shopping experiences can’t just get easier.
Convenience no longer holds enough weight to differentiate or define good bricks-and-mortar shopping experiences.
Retailers now know that retail no longer exists simply to sell products. Getting people to ‘go shopping’ with your brand by providing fun, interactive and galvanising experiences in store is the best way for retailers to find meaningful differentiation today.
They know that the better the experience, the more likely it is that people will spend time and money with them. It means that new retail isn’t fast retail at all – it has to become slow.
“Convenience no longer holds enough weight to differentiate or define good bricks-and-mortar shopping experiences”
Kevin Gill, Start
We’ve identified this as the difference between ‘doing shopping’ and ‘going shopping’. ‘Going shopping’ presents a different set of attitudes to ‘doing shopping’ for consumers.
As people become increasingly time-poor they are looking for new, ever more exciting, immersive in-store experiences that can be a satisfying way to spend leisure time.
Many of us now value the quality of a new experience more than the ownership of yet another ‘thing’.
Disposable incomes are also rising, making us feel more secure about spending on non-essentials and driving growth in the leisure market.
Stores therefore have to become leisure destinations in their own right, and many already are.
‘Going shopping’ indicates that retail and leisure are becoming increasingly indistinct in the eyes of consumers. Shopping needs to compete with other leisure activities in our lives.
“Entertainment, education, social interaction – retailers need to deliver an engaging experience that people can’t get elsewhere”
Kevin Gill, Start
Entertainment, education, social interaction – retailers need to deliver an engaging experience that people can’t get elsewhere.
So the pressure is building for brands to create a retail experience that’s a destination in its own right – one that’s coherent with the more indulgent way we want to spend our free time.
Think of Airbnb giving experience-hungry millennials access to thousands of unique holidays. Or Secret Cinema, turning a regular trip to the movies into a cinematic, pop-up extravaganza.
Retail brands must tap into these desires, rather than focus solely on how convenient things can be, and deliver exciting spaces that reward the effort people make to visit them.
Bringing an in-store experience to life needs to be at the heart of every brand’s strategy.
We know that in the minds of millions, shopping will always come down to two things: convenience and leisure.
The big test now is, how to make ‘doing shopping’ even more convenient, and ‘going shopping’ even more enjoyable within one tech-rich retail space. Because, let’s face it, if a retailer is not creating and innovating, then it’s not differentiating – and soon it’ll be closing.
Source: Retail Week
Kevin Gill is the UK chief executive of marketing agency Start
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