The Importance of the Experience

In the next 10 years, will consumers go to a store to make a purchase?

Historically, people went to a shopping centre or a store to do 1 thing – to buy a product. Now, with the diverse tenant mix and the detailed access to customer information, malls are creating relevant and personalised events and experiences. Because of this, today, people visit a shopping centre to meet friends, have dinner or even just to enjoy the destination, and in some cases, purchasing is simply an after-thought.

Over recent years we have seen entirely new, innovative strategies being implemented to transform the visitor experience. The developments in technology have already significantly changed the way we interact with brands in-store with augmented reality, touch screen displays, self-service, interactive dressing rooms, the list goes on.

Consumers now come to a shopping centre for an experience and this starts the moment they turn into the car park. Consumers expect to find car parking spaces easily and to be clearly directed, they want to see new pop–up units and events consistently throughout the year and they anticipate the opportunity to engage with the latest technology developments.

Online shopping isn’t a new threat to physical stores, but it is developing and online sales are only increasing. This has driven shopping centres and retailers to considerably change their approach to give consumers a reason to travel to a centre when they could just order their goods from the comfort of their sofa.

In-store is where a real experience can be made, not online. Physical stores allow retailers to fully unleash their personality and truly get personal with their consumers through music, scents, customer service, not to mention events and technology-based campaigns. The ‘experiential shopping’ trend is developing at a pace which is probing the question, will consumers actually purchase from stores in the future, or will they simply become showrooms where consumers visit to enjoy an experience, see and try on products then order them to be delivered?

2017 saw numerous stores really enhance the guest-experiences and Campaign Live have gathered 7 of the best from the year. Some examples include Samsung’s fully functioning kitchen, Nike’s in-store sporting experience and Topshop’s VR campaign – click here to read more.

It is exciting to see how stores are developing to become experiential destinations in their own right. The innovative and unique events are truly inspirational and I am looking forward to seeing where the experiential trend will take the future of shopping centres next!

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