Brands are going beyond sales and focusing on the shopping experience for their customers, combining online and in-person sales to survive in difficult times.
After the pandemic affected the way we shoo, there is no turning back for retailers, nor for consumers. Last year alone, 44% of stores in the United States served partially or fully as distribution centers. And, in 2022, the percentage rose to 57%, with stores mainly focused on providing the option to buy online and pick up in store (BOPIS: buy online, pick up in-store). The future has caught up with us: consumers can buy from anywhere and at any time from computers or cell phones so stores have become showrooms and distribution centers, from which products are delivered next day, and fast..
Retailers have adapted by providing personalized shopping experiences, not only in person but also via digital media. Brands have been forced to meet to a rapidly changing consumer landscape and seek new and refreshing opportunities. Hence the mantra of enhancing the experience and not the product. Lately we have seen technology like AR and AI in retail spaces. Even the most advanced brands have opted for robotics. This technology focuses on improving customer relations to collect data and learn preferences, and thus maintain constant feedback with the brand.
Another way to incorporate technology is through VR dressing rooms—and even with voice-controlled robot assistants. Today, it’s common to see QR codes in stores with special offers or styling tips, smart mirrors and the opportunity to be part of a brand’s community thanks to a digital database with access newsletters and press releases. The end goal is not to move the product, but to sell the idea and the essence andvalues of the brand.
Another phenomenon that arose during the pandemic was live stream shopping. This new way of shopping will reach 25 billion dollars in sales in the United States in 2023. Gucci is a clear example of the trend. The brand has created a digital narrative and provides a first-class shopping experience with the ability to surprise customers at every turn. From augmented- reality-based product testing technologies to digital gifts, the Italian brand is at the forefront in terms of innovation. To give you an idea, Gucci receives more than 10 million engagements per month, on average.
Additionally, studies have revealed that more than 30% of Gen Z teens and millennials believe that YouTube is a primary channel for information, including reviews and tutorials. In this way, video is the new way to create content related to beauty for influencers, bloggers and video-bloggers specializing on the topic who seek to create their own niches in the sector. In a new era in which consumers expect to share values with brands, retailers must transform their platforms to set trends and thus enhance the shopping experience in the cultural world at large. !The future is here!