Insights

How the Age of Retail Renaissance Is Transforming Lifestyle Stores

October 31st, 2018

News of retail dying has long been making headlines, yet the reality is retail is not dying but instead changing. This change has introduced an exciting retail renaissance for retailers large and small as well as online and offline, yet possibly the most exciting change this has brought to retailers is those in the lifestyle store categories. Expanding on this, lifestyle retailers – and all physical brick and mortar stores – should embrace a perspective that compliments this retail renaissance. As Deloitte Digital recently shared, this renaissance means “that brands must rethink the consumer experience to thrive.”

Lifestyle stores are considered more than just a destination to shop but also a destination for consumers to gain experiences and ultimately gain memorable moments that will persuade customers to want to shop in these stores again and again and again. From lingering customers to girlfriends making a day of weaving in and out of their favorite lifestyle stores, it’s no surprise that these specific merchants have more opportunities than ever to optimize their retail growth. Keeping this in mind, however, as retail changes so do the demands of customers and thus, merchants must adapt to keep up with this exciting renaissance taking shape in commerce at large. No longer do customers want to simply buy products somewhere but instead, they want to experience a memorable, enjoyable shopping journey that makes them want to stay loyal to the retailers they purchase from. The question is, however, how can lifestyle stores embrace this retail renaissance and strengthen customer sales along the way?  

 

Introducing real-time customer insight into your store strategies, routinely incorporating fresh inventory into your store displays and understanding what customers want out of their shopping experiences are key aspects in achieving retail renaissance success. To help, consider the below tips.

 

Make Convenience a Priority

 

In all your efforts to connect and engage with customers, make sure convenience is always top of mind. After all, you don’t want your store to be referenced as a place that becomes a chore for customers to shop… do you? Instead, create an environment that caters to the needs and wants of customers while making it an experience that customers will enjoy, as well.

The reality is that consumers have limitless options in this retail renaissance we are experiencing, but the reality is there are also limitless ways to enhance branding and commerce as a result. As Deloitte Digital explains, “brands must be laser-focused on the value proposition that matters most to their customers.” Among this value? Convenience. Yet only 6% of brands surveyed by this same report from Deloitte Digital identified this as a priority.

Creating scenarios in which you engage with your customers that cater to ease is among the best ways to strengthen store experiences. An example of this would be if you sell inventory that is not easy to carry home for a customer yet they are local and do not need it shipped by traditional standards such as FedEx or UPS. Through services such as Roadie or by incorporating delivery into your store services, you can create what would be a hurdle for a customer to deal with into an opportunity for your store to increase sales thanks to this convenient offering. Other examples include how your customers navigate their paths to purchase. With McKinsey Consulting reporting that two-thirds of customers reference the internet during their purchase decision process, it’s also important that physical stores consider how their online brand connects with customers. The path to purchase, after all, is no longer linear but that does not have to mean you can’t accommodate modern customers in their preferred ways to connect with merchants. Social media, online review sites such as Yelp and email marketing should all easily connect customers to your store with up-to-date marketing information, real-time inventory updates and the opportunity to purchase online and pick up in your store or have delivered to them whenever possible.

 

Needs vs. Wants   

 

Lifestyle stores benefit from catering to customers looking for inventory that they don’t just need but also want. This is a huge opportunity for lifestyle stores to consider since it allows them to market to customers who both need what they sell and want what they sell – ultimately having the potential to reach more customers. However, as you aim to embrace this retail renaissance, also aim to understand that shopping habits are not simply a response to what customers need and want but also to their willingness to spend. But spending is undoubtedly influenced by psychology, as well, which Deloitte explains as having a “a critical role in consumers’ willingness to open their wallets.”

 

To help your lifestyle store truly embrace this retail renaissance, you must first embrace delivering memorable experiences to customers in modern ways that are enhanced by technology, delivered with personalization and brought to life with in-store experiences that customers will want to repeat again and again. Collectively, these efforts can help you lead this renaissance with confidence and ease.