DRIVE Online Customers Back To Your Store E-commerce has introduced a new way of thinking about sales. Some of the world’s leading brands are taking an omnichannel approach to creating a hyper-personalised customer journey. As technological advances continue to challenge conventional retail; what does the future of shopping look like? Here are a few ways that retailers can bring the online shopper to the physical store. What’s Trending? For local retailers, understanding buying behaviour, both domestically and globally, across all demographics, means remaining competitive. Research shows that while South African e-commerce still falls short of international trends, online spending has tripled over the past five years. Though there is still a proclivity towards physical stores, there is expected to be a significant shift towards electronic shopping. Millennials continue to fascinate marketers in the way they perceive and engage with brands; constantly challenging traditional sales processes. Known as a generation of technological early adopters – it comes as no surprise that this group makes up a large piece of the e-commerce pie; though studies show that a seamless in-store journey trumps digital. Gen-Z and millennial shoppers do not approach retail in the same way. While the latter see value in online shopping, Gen-Z consumers around the globe are more inclined to notice and react to on-site sensorial marketing elements. Preferring the more traditional buying process, the youngest group are less likely to plan purchases – making them more receptive to experiences. Resolve online shopping frustrations with an in-store solution Combatting E-Commerce Frustrations While shopping platform preferences largely remain generation-specific, there are several ways that brick-and-mortar retailers can resolve online shopping frustrations with an in-store solution. Despite enjoying the convenience of virtual shopping; 78% of shoppers cite the ability to touch, feel and try products as a top reason for buying in-store. Losing the tactile experience, payment insecurity and the impersonal nature of digital are still a challenge for e-commerce. Retailers can use this to their advantage by adopting an omnichannel approach to sales. The brick-to-click concept invites retailers to merge the benefits of a physical outlet and a website enabled for e-commerce, for a holistic sales journey. Combining the 24-hour availability and cost comparison advantages of online, with the ability to try products before purchasing, means the customer gets the best of both worlds. Brands can garner loyalty by creating multiple touchpoints in and out of the store. Pre and post-sale one-to-one interaction through message alerts and newsletters builds real relationships between the brand and customer. Create A Sensational In-Store Experience Adding sensorial elements to the store is beneficial to both the business and consumer. Capture the shopper’s attention – digitize conventional in-store signage. Introducing dynamic content on vivid LED screens has a significant visual impact on customers who are surrounded by digital stimuli. Bring the wow factor to any space with engaging content that shoppers can interact with. Of all the senses, scent has been outlined as being the most evocative, with the power to trigger emotion and memory. For fashion and speciality retailers, creating a lasting sensorial connection can be as simple as introducing a hint of fragrance. DMX offers a catalogue of over 1000 aromas, helping brands create a lasting impression on customers with a bespoke scent. Often overlooked as a ‘silent’ influencer, background music has the power to uplift the mood and affect buying behaviour. The right music can have a positive impact on the in-store experience, substantially increasing dwell time. The signature sound should reflect the environment you want to create; building emotional connections between shoppers and the brand. As technology advances – so does shopping. Be it necessity or impulse buying, customers have come to expect hyper-personalisation in all sales interactions. By gaining an understanding of retail trends, brands are better equipped to meet consumer needs. An elevated in-store experience moves the online shopper back into the brick-and-mortar space. Introducing sensory solutions like engaging visuals, interactive touchscreens and enjoyable background music – positions the brand as a trend-setter, improves the sales journey and encourages repeat visits.