Every retail guru will tell you the answer to the industry’s challenges lies in the in-store experience. As many sales figures from bricks and mortar shops slide a little more each quarter, the race is on to find those immersive, interactive experiences which appeal to all five senses.
With the likes of in-store salons, customisable trainers and augmented reality make-up experiences, it’s not always easy to conjure up the next big in-store sensation. So if you want to brainstorm a new concept that will draw in the crowds whilst staying loyal to your brand, follow our 10 steps to get the ideas going.
- Set your objectives
Make sure you are clear about what you want your in-store experience to achieve e.g. increase sales on a product or appeal to a new audience. Remember to make these SMART.
- Who is the experience for?
Collate all your latest customer insight on how, when, where and why they shop with you. Create customer profiles using gender, age, education, motivation, media consumed, likes and dislikes.
- Research the market
With new experiences popping up daily, get a grasp of the latest and greatest. Of course suss out what your competitors are up to, but inspiration can also come from other sectors too.
- Invite a cross section to the session
Invite people from different corners of the business to join a brainstorming session: Marketing, Design, Operations, Sales, I.T. Ask everyone to bring an in-store experience which has caught their eye.
- Set the scene
Book a room with lots of space and light, with pens, flips charts, Post It notes and snacks. Get warmed up by presenting your brief and customer data and asking the group to show their favourite in-store ideas.
- Create a SWOT analysis staking out your place in the market
Get the team on their feet and to call out your in-store strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Summarise the key points you need to address.
- Map out the customer journey
Pin a large roll of paper on the wall and plot the in-store opportunities to interact with your customer e.g. window displays, fitting rooms and sales assistants. What information do customers need at each touch point, where are customers having a bad experience?
- Split into teams to brainstorm
Give each group brainstorms around different types of experiences before presenting back their best. The rules include: no idea is a bad idea, address issues in the SWOT and think about integration with other communication channels.
- Let the Boss and the audience decide
Having a budget in mind will help evaluate the ideas at the end of the session before sending them to the Boss to decide which is best aligned to the overall strategy. Any idea should be tested with a sample of your audience, too.
- Ready for action!
Once you’ve got your experience approved, send round a summary to everyone involved and set up a working group with clear actions, timings and budget. It’s time to put your experience in-store!
In-store ideas to brainstorm around:
- Augmented Reality
- Physical experience
- Digital signage and interactive screens
- Customisable products
- Digital inventory of stock
- In-store navigation
- Cardless payments
- Sending messages to smartphones in-store
- Click and collect
- Body scan technology
- Lighting technology
- In-store appointment system
- Hologram technology