Customer Experience matters and today more than ever before. But many companies are too big to change, or too slow to adapt. The latest “Retail Apocalypse” news is about SEARS, the iconic American retailer, going bankruptcy.
Retailers will shrink their physical footprints while transforming their stores in brandships. Many think that using tablets, AR/VR, smart fitting rooms, …, is the way to enhance shopping experience while their shop assistants forget to say “hello” and smile. Physical stores reinvention is again, not only about technology, but a “joint venture” between people, processes, hardwares/softwares and channels.
There is an urgent need to reinvent in-store experience
Transforming square meters into a museum or theatre is a way to evangelize customers when brands are dying. Brands need to develop a consistent end-to-end story: the customer journey.
Some brands are already doing a great job (e.g. Steve Madde, Neiman Marcus, Rebecca Minkoff), while are connecting online and offline thru technology. But Fashtech is just an enabler (AI for product curation, AV for product presentation, Omnichannel loyalty programs…), and telling an emotional story aligned to customer expectations (sustainability, transparency, visibility, seamless experience, community engagement) is the real goal.
Another interesting trend that impacts customer experience is scent marketing. For example, in october 2018, Aroma360 has partnered with Italian fashion brand Brunello Cuccinelli to develop their signature scent that will enhance the customer experience in brick-and-mortar stores throughout the world.
Best innovative customer experiences in NYC| The Store of the Future
These are some stores I visited recently in NYC that are outstanding in terms of customer experience.
ABC CARPET & HOME (FLATIRON)
ADIDAS (MIDTOWN EAST)
TIMBERLAND (HERALD SQUARE) @Wayne Pelletier
BARNEYS NEW YORK
POLO RALPH LAUREN (MIDTOWN EAST)
REBECCA MINKOFF (SOHO)
THE NORTH FACE (MIDTOWN)
ALIFE (Rivington Street)
Nike House of Innovation 000
Nike recently opened its new flagship store in NYC called Nike House of Innovation 000. Apart from selling the wider shoes assortment of the brand, the store embraces technology and digitalization (Swoosh customization, QR codes, instant checkout, pickup area, Sneakerlab…).
Nike By You Made-To-Order Atelier at the Expert Studio