Consumer buying decisions rely heavily on the retail environment, so it makes sense that retailers are searching for more innovative ways to engage customers at every touchpoint, both online and in-store.
With studies pointing to most in-store purchases being made on impulse rather than pre-planned, retailers would do well to consider how customers engage with the retail environment.
Research into the latest trends in the retail sector showed that store layout, the use of technology for seamless integration and convenience, and the sensory experience of a space all play a role in achieving the ultimate goal – moving the customer to make a purchase.
Importance of strategic layout
The customer’s experience of a physical (brick and mortar) or online retail space has a surprising amount of influence on their purchasing decisions. According to the European Journal of Marketing, the number of aisles customers tend to visit is also a major influencer on in-store decision-making. This means that using strategic design to ‘guide’ customers through the entire store would likely lead to an increase in purchases.
Other ways to achieve this include; placing popular brands as far apart as possible, positioning essential items at the back of the store, and using floor lines to create a set path for customers to walk along, to ensure they visit every part of the store. Retailers can also boost on-the-floor efficiency by making use of intelligent point-of-sale systems, allowing merchants to print receipts from virtually any mobile device to assist customers more efficiently.
The same principle applies to online retail stores. Some key aspects to think about include clever placement of call-to-action buttons and internal links, along with a beautiful and easy-to-navigate product catalogue.
Mobile payment solutions
For retailers hoping to keep foot fall flowing through the doors, mobile payment solutions add a new level of convenience which give customers the feeling of ‘jumping’ the queue.
Cardless payment systems are on the rise, as app-based solutions make on-the-go transactions even easier. Many major retailers are also implementing more efficient payment systems in-store, such as payment portals and mobile receipt printers, to take the hassle out of paying for goods.
To further enhance the in-store experience for customers, many retailers are creating retail environments that appeal to the five senses, following research suggesting that multi-sensory shopping experiences stimulate powerful responses from customers.
For example, pairing a specific fragrance with the relevant product has a profound psychological impact on the limbic system – an area of the brain responsible for processing smells, as well as supporting a variety of other vital functions, including emotion and memory processing.
Engineering retail environments that effectively engage with customers, on a level that makes them feel understood and their needs catered to, is growing in popularity within the retail industry.
While experiential retail becomes an increasingly crucial area for retailers to understand, implementing mobile solutions also influences buying decisions and provides customers with efficient and pleasant shopping experiences.