Whether shopping online or off, every customer journey contains dozens of little touch points. These moments each represent an opportunity to make an impression on your customer, and in successfully capitalizing on those touch points, you can humanize the experience, drawing people in and making a lasting emotional impression.
Emotion is inexorably linked with shopping. Customers shop when they’re happy, they shop when they’re sad. The term “retail therapy” exists for a reason. Today retailers are exploring ways to tap into that emotional aspect of shopping to make a deeper connection with their customers.
Appealing to Emotion, Online and In Store
In a blog post on Medium, brand experience and innovation agency The Science Project said the same principles apply with e-commerce as well as traditional retail, and that what makes a “good” online shopping experience is more complex than being functional and seamless.
“We adopt that same knowledge to shape an e-commerce experience that draws on and ignites the same sense to inspire them toward the point of sale, which is much more impactful than simply making it easy. We make it necessary.”
Omni channel doesn’t just mean creating a parallel experience in-store and online anymore. It’s come to encompass creating a web presence that matches and complements the aesthetic and experiential qualities of your brick-and-mortar stores.
Rewarding Participation Forges Bonds With Customers
More than just something abstract like feelings, though, brands can humanize themselves by intelligently integrating themselves into customers’ everyday lives. New York City’s The New Stand is leading the charge on that idea, while taking the humble urban news stand concept to its zenith.
Billing itself as “half store, half app”, The New Stand encourages (and rewards) ongoing communication with the store through its integrated app. The free app offers news articles, product and music release information, and can be used to check out in the store itself. Customers are rewarded with loyalty points for reading or submitting articles or otherwise interacting with the app’s content. This encourages stickiness for the app, and cultivates a sense of participation for customers.
The New Stand is also designed to be easily changed to capitalize on the latest megatrend. Displays and products are constantly changing, so every time you visit the experience is just a little different. This element of surprise makes customers curious about what you’ll do next, much like the desire to rapidly turn pages in an exciting book.
Delighting and surprising customers at every turn, both online and off, is a great way to keep your brand on their minds. Knowing their preferences, and rewarding their loyalty for shopping with you or simply for joining in the conversation makes customers feel appreciated. These are potent forces when it comes to creating a memorable shopping experience and capitalizing on those touchpoints.