Digital VS Experiential Bricks-and-Mortar

April Davis By April Davis | 16 Jan 2019

In a world where consumers are increasingly jumping online to grab a bargain, can experiential in-store experiences keep bricks-and-mortar retailers competitive?

According to new research from Mood Media, 79 percent of Australians would be more likely to visit a physical store than jump online if they found the in-store experience an enjoyable one.

Surveying more than 10,000 consumers in 10 countries, including Australia, the CX-focused business found that experiential commerce plays a large role in consumer purchasing decisions.

In particular, Mood Media discovered that 86 percent of Australian shoppers are very/fairly likely to re-visit a store and 70 percent more likely to stay longer in a store if it has an enjoyable atmosphere. Music, visuals and scent were all identified as key components in establishing an inviting atmosphere. In fact, 57 percent of global consumers said they disengage with brands that make poor music choices, while 45 percent of Aussies say they will stay longer if they like the music. A further 63 percent of respondents said that they notice when stores have an inviting smell.

When it comes to visuals, the firm says that retailers should turn to China as an example, with cross-channel businesses well positioned to use their shopfronts to promote both in-store and online goods.

More than half of the Australians surveyed reportedly said that they have been attracted to a clothing store or stayed in a clothing store longer when they displayed digital content in the windows or on screens in-store.

In China, for example, brands often utilise tech from companies like Alibaba to merge their physical shopping experience with the convenience of online. Just last year, the Chinese e-commerce/tech business partnered with GUESS to open its first digital-first concept store, where it revolutionised the traditional concept of positive shopping experiences.

Using its FashionAI tech, Alibaba’s example of New Retail included AI-based mix-and-match suggestions, smart lock technology to capture consumer preferences, and new fitting room experiences.

While online retailers are also re-imagining the digital shopping experience with 3D imagery, AR-powered apps and fast and efficient fulfilment options, physical stores have the added benefit of bringing consumers into a real, physical space.

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