How can you get your customer to come to your store? How can you boost customer loyalty? Questions likes these are the crucial issues for companies today. On the publication of the study “50 trends to incorporate into your new strategy”*, 2018 by the communications trend bureau Urban Sublime, here’s a world tour of brands that know how to welcome their customers to stores and online.
My home is your home
Stores are no longer stores, they are now stories that customers experience as the new main characters, at the centre of attention. The “feels like home” trend has been around for the past few years. Its aim? To help customers feel at ease, so that they will spend time in the store and make it part of their daily lives.
What has now changed is the range of new sites on offer and, above all, the intensity of experiences. Unique sites, apartment sites, extraordinary sites – stores have changed out of all recognition over the past few years. Whether in the United States, Sweden, Asia or France, what is on offer to the customer is now a unique, highly personalised, feel-good experience. Exploration holds sway. From the “Coco Cafés” opened by Chanel in Hong Kong, Toronto, Tokyo and Singapore, expressing its sense of proximity creatively, to completely original sites like the hotels with just one room by VIPP: the concept of the home and the living space revisited by brands to provide a new, warm welcome, not based on the idea of the immediate transaction, but on setting up links, more specific proposals made to customers.
In France, the store called “L’Appartement” launched by the fashion designer Sézane immerses customers in the quintessence of Parisian style. Customers are welcomed with madeleine cakes to enjoy. Velvet benches, delicate objects, a series of “living rooms” where clothes are placed here and there – you feel like the designer actually lives here. What could be more exciting than the feeling of seeing how your favourite creators live? The concept is also a big hit in New York, since the boutique has now opened across the Atlantic.
Come as you are
While McDonald’s has understood for some time that it’s important to tell the customers they are welcome, anytime and in (almost) any apparel, brands in the premium and luxury sectors are also starting to adopt this philosophy. Even the banking sector, although it is well known for its rigidity, is embracing the new codes. At the Capital One Bank in Union Square, New York and in San Francisco, you can enjoy cakes and coffee on the ground floor, then go up to the first floor, where there is a lounge, wifi terminals, coffee tables and offices where start-uppers and business people generally meet up. Bank employees are on hand, but they are casually dressed. The aim is for them to look like the customers and to avoid – if only visually – any gap in style and values. According to a study by Toluna for Capital One, only one-third of the people surveyed feel confident in talking about their finances. So the bank wanted to restore the link of trust thanks to a simpler design and a friendly welcome.
It can never be repeated enough that the most welcoming brands are the ones including the service aspect at the heart of their strategy. Welcoming customers also means simplifying people’s daily lives, helping them save time and sparing them stress and complexity. At American Eagle in New York, once you’ve tried on a garment in the changing room, you don’t need to queue to pay at the till, since you can use the iPad on hand to pay from inside the changing room! At Home Depot, there is a free repotting service for your plants in the store, so you can get help with your product even well after purchase.
And what about online?
You can give a warm welcome online too! Thanks to user data, websites offer more and more personalisation: easier purchasing based on your most recent orders, decision-making tools, instant chat apps to put you in touch with an employee from the brand. The Ooshop home-delivery service by Carrefour provides pregnant women with free delivery of their shopping. What a great way to take the specific qualities of customers into account in the different phases of life!
This kind of attentiveness to help promote loyalty will open the way to others that are equally interesting, such as – and hopefully soon – a free delivery service for elderly or disabled people. Sometimes the best concepts are not necessarily the most costly: having your first name on your Starbucks drink is a perfect example. Remembering customers’ names, bringing them their packages or helping them out of their coat at the store entrance are small examples of attentiveness used by big brands.
*The study “50 trends to incorporate into your new strategy” (in French) is available at: http://www.urbansublime.com/50-nouvelles-tendances-a-integrer-a-votre-strategie/
Article originally published in French on www.influencia.net
Save the date for the next Paris Retail Week show from 10 to 12 September 2018
For its 4th edition, Paris Retail Week, the biggest European trade event will take its full scope and will gather in Pavilion 1 of Paris expo Porte de Versailles the e-commerce sector, dedicated to solutions for e-retailers, ranging from digital marketing to logistics, and the Store / Equipmag sector, dedicated to physical commerce and distribution.
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Pour sa quatrième édition, Paris Retail Week, le plus grand événement retail européen de la rentrée prendra toute son envergure et réunira dans le Pavillion 1 de la Porte de Versailles le secteur E-Commerce, dédié aux solutions e-commerce, du digital marketing à la logistique et du secteur Store / Equipmag, dédié au commerce physique et à la distribution.
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