Making the digital experience just as good in-store

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Shopping definitely isn’t my favorite pastime, despite having three teenage daughters who love Saturday trips to the shopping mall! So for me, anything that provides a good customer experience in-store is a reward in itself.

The world of retail is moving fast to keep up with our busy lives. We expect a seamless and consistent experience across channels and devices when we are making purchases. Online shopping is easy wherever we are, but the store still holds a strong attraction for many people. This is why many successful retailers today invest extensively in both online and bricks-and-mortar shops.

Most of us purchase items through a variety of retailer types, whichever happens to be the most convenient or cost effective at the time. But weekend shopping trips are still ubiquitous, be it to buy, browse or touch and feel items we may later order online. And the in-store digital experience plays a vital part in improving this shopping experience.

The personal touch

Any major retailer will tell you that the personalized experience influences a customer’s purchasing decision. Innovative retailers have a fantastic opportunity to engage with in-store customers, providing them with memorable digital experiences that will see them spread the word and return with friends and family.

In New York, for example, Ralph Lauren’s flagship store has fitted interactive touchscreen mirrors, which allow customers to look through the real-time store inventory and interact with sales assistants. Others include the Nike store, which enables customers to book personal appointments with in-store experts to test out their sports gear on their basketball and soccer trial zones. These are examples of immersive in-store digital experiences, designed to tell a brand’s story, boost sales and retain customer loyalty.

Stores are getting smarter

If the physical store is going to stay relevant to our lives in the future, it must be more than just a place we go to buy goods. We expect more from stores than boxes on shelves, no matter how nicely displayed. It has to be an extension of the whole brand experience and allow us to interact with products in a real-life context. This is why Orange has opened up its Smart Stores from Paris to Cameroon, which are designed to look like houses, not shops, and bring the products to life. Here, customers can test out Orange Home TV and other home automation and IoT devices, for example, in the lounge area or communications technology in the home office.

Interactivity is positively encouraged. Customers can pick up and use the connected devices to explore how it would work in their own home environments. Any change to make a customer’s life easier and simplify the decision making process is going to be rewarded with customer loyalty.

A new shopping experience

Digital stores are truly changing the shopping experience and enhancing purchasing capabilities. We are no longer going shopping just to buy, instead we are increasingly going for the digital experience, where we can immerse ourselves in a whole new world. One that is interesting and informative. For someone who doesn’t relish shopping trips this is a real game changer!

Placing mobility and digital at the heart of the customer journey was French retailer DARTY’s aim when it improved its systems – and its store. Read more here.

Isabelle Lurquin
Isabelle Lurquin has over 20 years’ experience in the telecommunications B2B market in key accounts and sales management, indirect sales, business development and marketing. She has worked for Orange Business Services IMEAR region since 2012. The region includes the geographies of Middle East, Turkey, Africa & Russia, as well as the indirect business with SITA, the Orange Business Services channel to the Air Transport Industry. Today, Isabelle leads the Sales, Marketing & Communication and the Indirect Business functions.