The Shopping Experience

A guest column from Diana Cawley, managing director, Lime revealing insight from Lime’s 6000 shopper survey

The multichannel shopping phenomenon has empowered today’s consumers  more than ever before. The shopping journey no longer simply ends, or begins in-store, with 90% of today’s consumers using one or more channel on their path to purchase. Consumers increasingly engage with brands through multiple touchpoints which means that if brands and retailers do not provide the experience today’s consumers demand, then they will simply spend elsewhere.

The good news for physical retailers is that, even in the face of multichannel competition, this does not signal the death of the store.  Unlike other channels, the store offers a unique experiential opportunity by providing an environment whereby consumers can essentially live the brand through engaging in a full sensory experience – something which other channels cannot provide.  With the tendency of today’s consumer to multichannel shop, what it does mean however is that retailers need to understand their consumers that much better and create the ideal customer experience to ensure that the buying journey ends in store.

It is this detailed insight into the consumer psyche which we at Lime set out to understand better. To enable us to delve deeper into multichannel shopping behaviour and to understand which experiences are key to shoppers, we undertook the largest study of its kind, polling almost 6,000 consumers across the UK, US and France. In reference to the actual store, here is a flavour of what we have found out and how experiential activities can making a consumer choose your brand. It’s all about an exciting in-store engagement which will involve the following;

Demonstrating awareness

Making a product standout from the crowded environment is increasingly difficult and the simple act of facilitating demonstration, trial, engagement and conversation allows brands to cut through the crowd. Experiential programmes make a product stand out when in a store environment, and reinforce other messaging shoppers have experienced. This two way dialogue has the ability to cut through all other static communication.

Sharing information

Information is more easily digested and managed when a shopper has the ability to ask questions, understand the detail, and discuss the pros and cons of a product and it’s competitors. The receiving of information in a personal way through person to person engagement gives validity to a brand’s claims and provides reassurance to shoppers of the messaging they may have seen on their multichannel journey.

Influencing behaviours

The old adage, that people buy from people rings true when consumers are making a purchase decision instore and where placing a brand ambassador can make all the difference. When faced with making a purchase between one product and another, the personal touch is irreplaceable. Whether influencing shoppers through a sensorial experience such as trial of product, providing a price incentive, or involving the consumer via a rewarding and enjoyable interaction, experiential is the most effective way of converting all of the different touchpoints into purchase.

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