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Not Your Average Retail Experience

The days of traditional in-store retail are over. Creating a successful brick and mortar experience requires just that – an experience. Discover the power of physical retail when paired with forward-thinking digital interactives that create stronger brand connections.

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You can buy almost anything online these days – keyword "almost." What can’t you get? Meaningful in-person experiences that foster a sense of community and build quality brand connections. While the convenience of online retail continues to influence consumer behavior, it’s important not to underestimate the power and potential of physical retail. 

As we welcome this so-called experience age of retail, traditional strategies must adopt a nuanced approach where physical experiences and digital footprints coincide to meet consumer behaviors. 

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Consumers expect more

With the rise of experiential retail, consumers want and expect more from traditional shopping venues. Fewer buyers are coming into physical stores with the sole reason to purchase – they can do that from the comfort of their couch. Beyond consumption, shoppers are coming for the experience. But what does experience retail look like in the face of steep online competition? 

It starts with creating an immersive environment that offers entertaining, engaging or educational interactives in addition to traditional retail products. While the concept of experiential retail isn’t new, it’s no longer geared solely toward what kind of music is playing, eye-catching window displays, or cafes and restaurants. Today’s experiential retail means offering interactive, in-person experiences that spark connection, channel emotion and have people visiting the store for something more than what’s on the shelf. It means creating something that elevates your brand experience and improves consumer retention. Oftentimes the most effective of these experiences are those that blend the digital and physical. 

Our partnership with Helzberg Diamonds is a prime example of this “phygital” approach. In order to keep pace with an evolving, younger audience, the national retail jewelry chain turned to DI to develop a unique, tech-driven element to enhance their in-store experience for ring shoppers. Using augmented reality (AR) technology, our team created the Helzberg Virtual Ring Experience that invites customers to “try on” rings in-store by placing their hand on a custom-designed palm rest with motion-tracking sensors. 

Integrating digital interactives with physical experiences gives consumers something they’ll want to come back for, while also providing your business an opportunity to build brand reputation, differentiation, and customer loyalty. 

Building a digital ecosystem 

Physical retailers can’t ignore the virtual elephant in the room, as over 263 million Americans reported shopping online in 2021. But instead of waving the white flag, they can and should work in continuum with online retail for mutual benefit. How? Create engaging and memorable in-store experiences, then maintain that initial contact by adding shoppers to their digital ecosystem. 

Building an online connection in addition to the physical storefront helps not only pay off retail investments but sustain brand interaction after people head home. This is particularly important for flagship and niche retailers, which are becoming increasingly popular as smaller specialized storefronts are rooted in the consumer experience. Working hand-in-hand, physical stores can draw consumers in as an initial touchpoint, then continue the retail experience online to support a healthy e-commerce consumer journey. 

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Where do we go from here?

It’s clear some of the biggest challenges today are enticing retailers to invest in a physical footprint and addressing shifting consumer behavior and needs. We believe the solution is two-fold: create an in-person experience people can’t get online – one that sparks emotion, creativity, and connection, all positioned alongside your product(s). Then, build a digital presence for consumers to remain engaged digitally and drive online sales across the country. 

We help our partners create one-of-a-kind experiences that motivate consumers to explore physical retail. It starts with the experience, then selling what’s on the shelf. Whether it’s digital tech interactives, ‘wow’ elements, or picture-esque placemaking, our goal is to create a retail environment that gets consumers buying, liking, sharing and building brand loyalty.

Brick and mortar is not dead. In fact, it's experiencing a comeback. As consumers expect more and online shopping gets easier, retailers must rethink their in-store strategy by establishing an ecosystem as something worth seeing in person and exploring digitally afterward.

Interested in elevating your space into something remarkable? Let’s chat
 

1 Brophy, Meaghan, and Agatha Aviso. “45 Online Shopping Statistics Retailers Should Know in 2022.” Fit Small Business, Fit Small Business, 1 Sept. 2022, https://fitsmallbusiness.com/online-shopping-statistics/. 

Spencer Farley

Spencer Farley

Account Director

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Every big opportunity starts with a small step forward. We're here to help you! Let’s jump on the phone, say hello, and discuss your virtual meeting or experience need, in a quick 15-minute FIT call. Prefer email? That's cool, too! Drop us a line - we're always happy to connect.

Get In Touch With Our Experts

Every big opportunity starts with a small step forward. We're here to help you! Let’s jump on the phone, say hello and discuss your need, idea or project in a quick 15-minute FIT call. Prefer email? That's cool, too! Drop us a line - we're always happy to connect.

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