Now more than ever, retailers need to find ways to stay more competitive. Your product, price, and customer service, while important, can no longer be what you hang your brand’s hat on alone. Stores need to ensure that they are creating an experience for their customers and increasing engagement. One way retailers can accomplish this is through utilizing technology in retail stores.
Technology can help tell your brand’s story, create an overall mood, direct and highlight where your customers should go, and help you be creative with how you communicate ideas to your customers.
Below are 4 ways in which your store can use simple types of technology to create an enhanced customer experience which in turn will boost your sales.
Master Your Music
One of the most underrated ways that retailers can create a shopping experience that fosters sales is with their music. When used properly, music can increase the probability of a customer buying in your store by 44% and increase their likelihood of staying in your store by 33%. When choosing the right music for your store remember these 3 key principles:
Match your brand
The music playing in your store is your store’s “voice” just like the Visual Merchandising is the “look” of your brand. The image and message that you want your brand to portray should be communicated through your music. A trendy fashion shop catering to 20 year olds wants to feel fresh and full of energy. Playing classical jazz would be a confusing choice causing their customer to turn around and walk out.
Decide the length of the shopping experience
As stated earlier, the right music will keep a customer in your store for a longer period of time. If you want your customers to spend more time in your store, play a slower tempo. This tempo encourages longer browsing time.
Playing a faster tempo, however, encourages customers to walk faster through your store. While this might not yield the same sales boost, it does encourage repeat customers through a more enjoyable shopping experience. How? A faster tempo evokes high energy and a fun atmosphere. This type of atmosphere creates an enjoyable shopping experience. When it’s time to shop again, customers remember their previous positive experience and return to the store.
Make sure the volume is right
The volume for your music can make or break your customers’ experience. If your store sells higher luxury items to an older customer, the volume should not be too loud. This helps to make this customer’s experience feel upscale and soothing.
But if you sell fashion athletic footwear to a younger customer, your music should be a bit louder to evoke the feelings of fun and high energy.
Incorporate Digital Signage
Digital graphics give a boost to your current signage strategy and enhance your overall message and stories. Customers want a sense of entertainment in their shopping experience in additional to being well informed. By utilizing digital signage throughout your store, you ensure they get both.
Digital signs can be used in your store windows to enhance your current visual presentation or inform passerbyers of hot deals or promotions to encourage them to stop and come into your store. The possibilities are endless.
These signs can be used as informational hubs about a product line or designers that you carry. Digital signs are 34% more effective at product promotion.They can give in depth information on the designer to give your customers a more intimate connection or they can explain how an item was sourced and/or made so the customer feels better about their buying decision.
What’s more, these signs can also validate and support your social media presence. You can repost content to ensure that your customers interact with it and connect with you. Unlike on actual social media where they might not even see it.
Using technology in retail stores like video helps give your customers a more intimate or insider look into your brand. Giving your customers a “behind the scenes” peek into your business can improve customer engagement with your store and your brand.
Depending on your budget and type of store you have you can use laptops, tablets, or TV’s to showcase your videos. All that matters is that your customers can see and easily interact with the content to enhance their engagement.
Here are some examples of what your videos can show in your stores:
- Fashion or trade shows
- A hosted event
- Interviews with key designers/personnel of brands you carry
- Behind the scenes of any of the above events
- Before and after of a major floor set or remodel
- Real life scenes that complement or enhance your overall theme/ visual presentation
- Information about sales/promotions with live action scenes
Have Proper Lighting
Like with music, lighting is an important detail that most retailers miss when planning their sales strategy. Also like with music, lighting can make or break your customer’s overall shopping experience. Ensuring your walkways and aisles are well lit and top selling items are highlighted can be key to an easy and enjoyable shopping experience.
The correct lighting also reinforces who you are as a brand. For example, a high end luxury brand should have the overall feel of being classic, soft, and even toned. The racks should be lit with a soft light to reinforce the high price of the items. This type of store should not use bright, fluorescent, or dark lighting which would clash with their customers’ expectations. Thus turning them off completely.
Your lighting can also affect how your customer feels in your store or with your product. If a customer is trying on clothing in a poorly lit and unflattering fitting room, the customer may get discouraged and not buy the items. However, if the lighting is bright, clear and more flattering, the customer has a better experience and is more apt to buy the items.
Retailers need to ensure that they are staying ahead of the game and keeping up with current trends to be relevant and stay competitive.
A powerful way to do so is to ensure that key basics like music and lighting are strategically set up to improve their customers’ overall shopping experience, increase their brand recognition, and encourage buying behaviors that will in turn boost sales.
OTHER MERCHANDISING RESOURCES
Refer to the Merchandising category for checklists, how-tos and best practices for merchandising.
Nichole Simms is a Retail Consultant and CEO of Creative Visual Solutions. She has helped major brands like Nike, Ann Taylor, Forever 21, and The Gap grow sales and traffic through sound Sales and Merchandising strategies. Now she uses these same strategies to help Boutique and Small Retail owners grow their businesses.