There’s a lot of buzz around the term immersive shopping experience, but what exactly is it? We took a look at how retail is changing, and how technology can play its part in creating an improved shopping experience.
What is Immersive Shopping?
Immersive shopping experiences put the buyer in the middle of the process of buying a product. Rather than simply selecting a product from a shelf, the customer can interact with the product and the brand behind the product on a deeper level.
A prime example of this is Apple, where stores offer interactive experiences at every turn. It’s not just a case of selecting a product, it’s a chance to experience what it’s like to own the product, and to be part of the Apple brand. Every element of the store, from the music to the visual displays and genius bar comes together to create an experience and this is exactly what the immersive shopping experience is about.
The High Street Isn’t Dead
E-commerce was always going to take a big cut of the retail pie. It offers convenience that suits today’s world, and this is no bad thing. However, it certainly doesn’t mean that physical retail and the high street are dead.
Instead, it’s challenged physical stores to up their game and focus on the aspects of shopping that online stores simply can’t offer - a physical experience. Research shows that people value experiences more and more (especially the younger generations), and this is an area where physical stores can excel.
No matter how entrenched online shopping becomes, and it’s already very entrenched, there will always be a demand for a physical shopping experience, but people are going to continue to demand more and more from that experience.
Pop-Ups Showing the Way
While the focus is often on how online shopping is squeezing physical retailers, there are actually plenty of e-commerce brands that are recognizing the importance of creating a physical presence.
One of the ways this has played out has been through the rise of pop-up shops.
What’s interesting about these temporary retail spaces is how much focus they place on an immersive shopping experience. As pop-up shops are temporary, they offer a great opportunity for brands to experiment with their use of technology, and in many high-profile cases, they’ve proven to be a huge success.
For example, online beauty brand Glossier had such success with their immersive pop-up store that they’ve decided to make their London store a permanent physical presence.
How to Create a Great Immersive Shopping Experience
Creating an immersive shopping experience should be about showing off the very best of your brand. To do this your store needs to achieve a number of things:
- Understand your target audience and the experiences they’re looking for
- Express the uniqueness of your brand through originality
- Create a personalized experience for each customer - it should feel like it’s been crafted just for them
- Connect the physical and online experiences
- Be adaptable - you want to keep introducing fresh ideas, and this is where technology such as digital kiosks give you great flexibility
How many times do you walk into a big department store and wonder if you’ve suddenly jumped into a time warp? This is what we think of when we talk about the demise of the high street, but for every example of a store that’s devoid of experience, there are plenty of examples of stores that are wowing their customers each and every day.
The technology is here to greatly expand the experience you offer your audience, and it can have a big impact on your business.
The Technology is Here
An immersive shopping experience isn’t something for a far-off future, it’s something that’s here now. Competition in retail is tough, and those brands that have embraced technology and the ability to create an immersive shopping experience have benefited and will continue to do so.
With technology such as digital kiosks, your business can connect the physical and online worlds that we live in, and give people the shopping experience they’re looking for. When it comes down to it, this is the real advantage that physical retail has over online retail, and it’s an area you should be looking to create a competitive advantage.
At Meridian, we’re dedicated to helping businesses achieve their goals through technology, and the immersive shopping experience is a huge part of this. We’ve got lots of ideas about how to boost your customer experience, so get in contact and find out what your future looks like.