E-commerce killing Brick-and-Mortar stores is now common knowledge, and Retailers actually learned a lot from the 2017 Retail apocalypse. First of all, it’s now all about experiences over possessions. It’s also about using technology and data to succeed in creating those memorable customer experiences in store. As 2019 dawns and NRF’s Big Retail Show approaches, let’s review five of the main experiential retailing trends revealed this year and that might lead next in Retail world.

1- Fear Of Missing Out or FOMO

A lot of brands are already playing it smart: Instead of having a store opened all-year-round, they experimented a brand new real estate strategy: the “pop up” or “experiential store”. Whether to present a new collection of product, to host a special event or just to let customers come and try products in a nice environment, it’s happening for a short notice.

Sometimes, customers even have to book an appointment to walk into the store, or they need to lined up outside. And guess what, it’s actually working super well! In fact, customers, and especially millennials, enjoy living exclusive and personalized experiences.

A great example is the French fashion retailer Sezane – who used to have a great FOMO strategy. First, on their E-Shop, launching some “capsule collection” on a precise day and hour, with only few pieces available for each product. Then offline, opening an amazing Parisian apartment as a store just a few days a week. Sezane pieces are always sold out and customers still want more!

Another great one is Apple. On top of mind, Apple is a product-first-technology company that delivers great experiences through its innovative products. In “Apple Stores”, which has become a proper name, experience is everywhere. From a place to buy things, Apple built a destination with meaningful, important experiences. Apple addicts and regular customers are now going to an Apple store almost as if it was a museum, to try new products first. When a product launch is happening, customers are even willing to stand for a long line to get the last Iphone or MacBook – FOMO, I’m telling you.

2- Projection As An Experience

Another good way to create amazing experiences is by using some wonderful technologies like AR or VR. iI’s creating supernatural and surprising experiences that are totally changing the way customers see a brand,. These experiences then create a great story that consumers will remember for a long time and be more than happy to share with friends.

Cosmetics companies like Sephora have rolled out virtual makeup mirrors that let shoppers try on any color they can think of, or even make product recommendations after scanning their skin to find the most complimentary makeup shades or foundation. In the same way, the fast fashion retailer Zara is introducing an innovative augmented reality experience at 120 of its flagship stores around the world for a short time only: Users will have to download Zara app and they will be able to point their devices at signage, in-store podiums and the delivery boxes for online orders to trigger the series of seven to 12-second videos of models showcasing ZARA’s Studio Collection.

3- Full Digitalization

Physical retailers are introducing some innovative concepts of their own that represent a total transformation of the brick-and-mortar retail experience. Beyond cashier-less shopping, the ideas combine the convenience and informational aspects people love about e-commerce with the difficult-to-replicate human touch offered by physical stores.

The sport brand Nike opened its store in Los Angeles, and the experience they’ve created is quite futuristic. The NikePlus app, which connects customers to the store, also connects the store to the customers. Shoppers can reserve items, arrange a smart locker or curbside pickup, or see real-time stock availability right from the app. In exchange, Nike collects customer data, which it then uses to further augment and improve the experience.

NikePlus members even get rewards for loyalty with a members-only vending machine, the NikePlus Unlock Box, which when scanned, gives repeat customers products or other bonuses. Once shoppers enter the store with the NikePlus app engaged, they will, using geofence technology, be automatically recognized by the store. That could enable the store, for example, to set aside items that people might like in their exact size before they even ask for them.

Retailers are also equipping their sales forces with a tool to help automate the retail excellence process and doubles as the connective tissue between their field and HQ. The solution empowers field teams to achieve the brand’s goals in each store: more efficient employees, create action plans to solve issues faster, improve in-store execution, communicate efficiently with teams, track and analyze compliance in real time.

Since each day on the field is a new challenge, your field & store ream can use an app to access their daily brief with personalized objectives, guidelines, new missions and store profiles. Retail employees can stay informed of any new mission to accomplish at their fingertips. This type of solution is part of the first steps towards achieving full digitalization and retail excellence. If you’d like to see other ways of reaching digitalization and achieving retail excellence, don’t hesitate to contact SimplField.

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