9. April 2021
By Sasja Schubert Iversen, Head of Design & Marketing
Ready for post-pandemic shopping experiences?
In these times of lockdown, closed stores and offices and teams working together from a distance, it can be challenging to develop a store concept and address a ‘post-pandemic’ world of shopping. While online shopping opportunities and concepts evolve with rapid speed and new click’n’collect concepts emerge, we must not forget to develop the ‘real’ physical in store experience – and prepare ourselves for when the world opens up again.
We all long for compelling real life experiences, where we can socialize, eat, drink, browse and shop in attractive, convenient and maybe even surprising surroundings. Our online shopping behavior and ability to navigate an online retail environment is now much more developed than ever and we have gotten accustomed to the convenience of this format – filtering opportunities in endless virtual product aisles, shopping inspiration from influencers, ‘personal’ chat or video contact with the store staff online and many other.
Multisensory shopping experiences
However, online still has its limitations when it comes to offer store experiences that engage all senses with visual effects, sound, smell, tactility and maybe even taste! We are all longing for meeting people outside of ZOOM and Teams – even people we don’t know, but share interest or hobbies with. Post-pandemic stores should celebrate this! This is an opportunity to rethink the store square metres and think not only in direct selling space but also embrace and promote the fact that people evolve communities and networks around brands and activities – and create space for this in the actual store (in support to online communities).
The store – a place for social interaction and activities
Local running clubs with the Nike brand as centerpiece have been well-known for many years and other similar concepts are emerging. What’s in common is the shared passion for a lifestyle and activities, that the brand successfully represents. When the brand understands its impact on customers and act on it – also in the physical store context – exciting things can happen. A good example is Canadian yoga and homewear apparel company Lululemon, which besides selling its products in stores, also has a large online and instore community with training and yoga activities, space for hanging out and partnerships with professionals within the ‘health’ industry to provide advice and learning to visitors in the store.
Another example is American outdoor sports brand Dick’s Sporting Goods that is opening new concept stores with turf fields that are converted to ice rinks in the winter, running tracks and climbing walls for customers to meet and test the products. The brand also reaches out to local community professionals to offer training, physical therapy and facilitation of workshops, relevant to the product offer.
Ideas for revitalizing the post-pandemic store:
- Implement relevant activities to engage customers – and dedicate space for it in the store (all products are already present and available online – and should also be accessible and ’shoppable’ in some form in the store).
- Focus on the customer journey in the store – and what elements or concepts that contribute to the good experience. Think gamification, engaging all senses with targeted experiences and of course easy navigation and access to products.
- Engage the local community – find the competency in the neighbourhood, whether it’s a trainer, instructor, enthusiast, key note presenter or other – and add more value to the (brand) experience.
- Dare to dedicate space to other activities than just product display: demonstration/testing space, social space, learning space, assembly space, livestream space…
Being shop fitters, this calls for new skills and ways of working from us as well: when layouting stores or designing displays and retail furniture, we should always take into consideration emerging trends, new business concepts and opportunities – focus on customer journey and value creation and how we can help bring our customers brands in the center of their customers activities – keeping in mind that the actual shopping act is just one part of the story.
For more info contact Sasja Iversen +45 2777 5255.