Tricks Up Retailers Sleeves To Lure Physical Stores

Tricks Up Retailers Sleeves To Lure Physical Stores

Online competition is putting intense pressure on brick-and-mortar stores. The most hot are department stores and clothes shops. David Jones profit for this year was half to A$64 millions. Myer reported a disappointing loss of A$486 millions.

German giant Esprit has closed its Australian operations after global sales fell 40% in just four years. Gap, a US-based company, closed its last Australian shop in February. Metalicus and Oroton, Marcs and David Lawrence, as well as Pumpkin Patch, are other brands that have gone bust.

What Should You Do?

One solution is to invest in and improve the aspects of your shopping experience that online retailers can’t offer. Department stores and clothing retailers use psychological research and consumer behaviour to increase their appeal sometimes without the shoppers even realising. These are the three most important strategies.

Your Heart Is At Home Stores

It’s easy to shop from your home. It’s easy to do in your own time. There is no pressure to rush and buy something. It’s possible to do it in your pajamas. Retailers are looking for ways to make customers feel more at home in stores, to compete with home shopping. These tactics include creating a sense of familiarity through furniture, lighting, and even smells. Rodd & Gunn, a men’s clothing retailer, is going all out with shop fit-outs designed to resemble a real home.

Above is Rodd & Gunn’s experiential shop in Chadstone (Melbourne). The ceiling is slant and wood-panel to look like a house roof. The shop floor’s central area is home to a living room, which includes a sofa, armchairs, and a coffee table. The walls are covered with art. This is all to make you feel just as relaxed as in your own home.

This approach is based on research showing that familiar design elements make shoppers feel more at ease. It seems that colour and music choices don’t matter as much, but layout and other sensory experiences.

For example, familiar scents can influence your decision to visit a store, the length of your stay, and ultimately, how much you spend. They work best when they are complementary to the brand. For example, a faint woodsy scent in a hardware shop or a more herbal aroma in a wellness center.

You Need Space But Not Too Many Stores

How the staff treats you can make or break your shopping experience. Sarah Alhouti, along with her colleagues, believes that there is a fine line between love of attention and hatred. Overly attentive salespeople can make you feel pushy, desperate or aggressive. This could drive you away. You may feel unimportant, unattractive, and unworthy. If you pay too much attention

Retailers are using technology to get attention because the Goldilocks zone is different for each person. Seafolly, Australia’s biggest swimwear brand, is testing an interactive mirror in its Bondi Junction store in Sydney. This allows customers to communicate with staff from their changing rooms for assistance only when they feel they are in need.

You Are So Unique

Although shopping online can be very convenient, it does not make you feel special. Brick-and-mortar stores are positioning themselves to appeal to the human desire for pampering and stand at the top of the market. Because every customer they receive is important, it makes sense to invest into the VIP experience.

The VIP experience can be created with personal greetings, champagne and caviar bars. This trend was adopted by department store David Jones as part of the A$200million redevelopment of its Sydney premises. The renovated shoe floor, which is the largest in Australia, features shoe concierges who will guide and greet you. There are also specialist shoe fitters from all over the globe. There’s even a champagne bar.

These experiences satisfy the need for luxury without the high price tag. Research shows that the mere act of being welcomed into a store can have a profound effect on how you perceive service quality, customer satisfaction, and loyalty. It remains to be seen if such strategies will save brick-and-mortar shops. Champagne anyone?