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Prosper

GUEST BLOG: How retail design can create experiences that connect with customers emotionally

Retailers who harness the power of emotion can better connect with their customers. Prosper’s Gareth James looks at why and explains ways to deliver an emotionally-rich shopping experience…

Research in the fields of neuroscience and behavioural economics is unveiling more about how we make decisions. Beyond logical reasoning, there’s something deeper at play on a subconscious emotional level.

An emotional experience is more impactful and memorable, so retailers who tap into their customers’ emotions are finding more resonance… and success. The next generation of shopper is increasingly buying more from brands they feel strong emotional connections to.

Experiences made for sharing

Today’s connected shopper often makes purchasing decisions based on opinions in their social network, so they crave something memorable and worth talking about. As do the influencers that people look to in their network for advice and opinions – such as bloggers and vloggers.

Emotionally-driven shopping experiences are powerful in inspiring people to fall in love with brands and become passionate advocates by sharing these experiences and driving valuable loyalty and sales.

An advantage for physical retailers

Meaningful emotional experiences engage all our senses and offer human interaction. Physical stores can go beyond showroom retailing to offer compelling ways to engage with customers emotionally and entice them away from online shopping and back onto the high street.

The growing trend for pop-up shops also offers the opportunity for experimentation with concepts and emotional experiences in physical spaces, to better connect with people.

So what retail design tactics can you use to build an emotionally powerful shopping experience?

Appeal to feelings

Ask how you want a customer to feel and how you can you appeal to their emotional motivators. Is it a desire to stand out from the crowd or to enjoy a sense of wellbeing, thrill or belonging?

Customers all like to feel unique and important. So the move towards more personalisation, with interactions tailored to a customer’s individual needs, will generate stronger feelings and emotional bonds with brands.

Tell stories

Humans are hardwired to love stories… they entertain, educate, help us escape and create memories. Stories also make you feel things so use storytelling to connect with customers.

Recount your brand’s rich history, express what you stand for, showcase provenance or convey future possibilities. Retailers like Lacoste and Dr Martens have museum-like features in their London flagships to recount the narrative of their brand.

Immerse all the senses

Sights, sounds, tastes, textures and smells all enhance an emotional experience. Glade’s Museum of Feelings, a pop-up sensory exhibit in New York, is a great example. Five scented rooms were designed to generate different feelings, to showcase the connection between scent and emotion for the air freshener brand.

Wellington boots brand Hunter creates an immersive experience by evoking wet-weather events and festivals in its London store, with audio and visual effects of heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Augmented reality (AR) also offers a wealth of opportunity to stimulate our senses and will become an important part of retail’s future as technology progresses.

Provide a sanctuary

As well as adding stimuli to excite, retailers can offer a calming sanctuary to escape to and linger. Leisure facilities within shops can aid relaxation and wellbeing, which leaves a positive emotion that is associated with the whole shopping experience.

Major retailers like Primark are acknowledging the importance of space and dwell time by offering coffee shops and customer seating that allow more relaxation in store. Elsewhere, Ted Baker now has coffee bars, barbers and beauty salons in their clothes stores.

Look to entertain

The human mind naturally craves intrigue and entertainment so encourage that sense of curiosity within a space. Inject theatricality with lighting, clever visual merchandising and interesting interior design. Or install an actual theatre to create a memorable experience, like Selfridges did last year.

Touchscreens and interactive features in store can turn a space into a kind of giant playground that encourages exploration.

Take fun seriously

Playfulness is a positive emotion to play on, that taps into powerful childhood memories.

Canadian apparel retailer Dish & Duer, have a ‘performance playground’ in their Vancouver store, with treehouse, hammock, monkey bars and swing.

On a practical level, shoppers can move around in garments to test how they suit an active lifestyle. However it also evokes fun and freedom from childhood, as well as the thrill of adventure! Those are all emotions we’d like to experience more.

If you would like to find out more about how Prosper works with retailers to create an emotionally-rich experience, please get in touch by email hello@madebyprosper.com or call 01582 460990

Industry Spotlight: How digital technology is influencing fast food retail design…

Fast food is getting faster and good use of digital has become an essential component in growing and driving its success. Robert Rosser, creative director of retail design agency, Studio Tait, explains more

The fast food industry continues to flourish. With ever busier lifestyles, people are less willing to cook for themselves, and are attracted to fast food for its affordability. Meanwhile the quality and diversity of fast food keeps improving, with leading brands like McDonald’s adapting their offering to focus more on health and quality.

The gap is also closing between fast food and casual dining restaurants, following the growth of ‘fast casual’ brands like Five Guys, Wahaca and Leon.

With these changes, expectations have risen – customers want great service, quality food and a memorable experience in a relaxed and welcoming environment. Today, the design of fast food restaurants needs to achieve this while removing the perception of ‘fast and cheap’.

In this evolution, using technology to enhance the customer experience has been key, with almost every fast food brand embracing digital in some respect. Merging digital and physical worlds helps to strengthen branding and experience, while at a fast food outlet, but also interactions beyond that.

Choosing your destination and food before you go

You can now use your desktop or phone to locate your nearest preferred food outlet, and easily share details to meet up with friends. Websites and apps can also let you know about the latest daily specials or offers before you visit, starting the experience before you’ve even arrived.

Brands like Burger King and Subway have invested in pre-ordering services, where you can place your order via a phone app or online so the food is ready and waiting when you arrive. 

Improving the ordering process in store 

When inside the physical fast food outlet, you don’t just queue, order and collect your food in one go anymore. Instead there are fast lanes where you your order is taken as at a delicatessen. New digital terminals that combine ordering and payment are also making purchases more efficient and convenient. 

McDonald’s has introduced interactive self-serve kiosks, seen in the new London Oxford Street branch that opened this summer. These giant phone screen terminals allow you to place your order, and even customise your burger, while avoiding the queues. You can also explore more detailed information about calories, nutrition and ingredients. 

Personalised menus and offers here can also enhance the in-store experience. In France this can include placing your order using the kiosk, taking a ticket and your seat and waiting for your meal to be served direct to your table. 

Using digital signage to engage customers 

Whether it’s ordering at a kiosk or serving counter, diners needs to understand the offer immediately to order quickly and reduce dwell time. Use of effective communication graphics is key here, and digital signage is more engaging and flexible than static printed graphics.

In this fast-paced environment, menus change frequently so digital signage can keep information up to speed. It allows you to update content quickly and remotely at any time and promote new or change under-performing products on the fly. 

The high resolution screens make the branding and food images look more enticing, plus changing content or motion video on the display is more engaging, entertaining customers while they wait. Digital screens can also convey the readiness of the ordered food items in real time.

Creating a relaxed, welcoming environment

As much as speed and convenience are important to some diners, other consumers want a place to meet, chat and relax where food is just part of the experience. So fast food interior design is increasingly creating more warmth and integrity. From the wholesome looking greens and natural materials in McDonald’s to the eclectic interior design of independents such as Love Koffee who’ve used Indian bicycle wheels as light fittings and reclaimed doors used as wall coverings. 

Seating options are more varied and flexible, combining sofa lounge areas, high tables to perch on and intimate booths. Adjustable lighting and curated music playlists are digitally-led ways to adjust the mood to match certain times of the day. 

Providing the ability to charge your mobile phone, is another way Fast Food retailers are using everyday requirements to tempt customers into their stores and make a purchase, customers are now entering these dwell areas not even for the retailers primary or secondary offer but to ensure their mobiles are fully charged and they are able to stay online while on the move.

Keeping diners happy and entertained

As digital devices are increasingly present at home, so they are in restaurant spaces. Some of the latest fast food fit-outs have fixed tablet devices on tables, allowing diners to game, chat or read the news while they stop for a bite to eat.

For child-friendly outlets, colouring books are being replaced with electronic tablets, games or activities to keep families entertained. Play zones with interactive projections and screens keeping kids happy beyond the meal.

Free wifi is also a must and food retailers can use this service to collect consumer data that can then enhance their experience and attract diners back.

Exploring home delivery

In the fast-food world, the culture of take away and drive-through remains, but the desire for home delivery has increased dramatically with mobile apps enabling food to be ordered at the touch of a button. 

The rise of third-party online ordering portals such as Deliveroo and Just Eat, means fast food chains are exploring home delivery options. Burger King began trialling home delivery in 2015 with a national rollout expected, while Pizza Express is looking at opening 150 delivery sites over the next five years.

What’s clear is that whether it’s dining in, taking away or home delivery, fast food retail design needs to achieve a consistent and holistic experience with a high level of service. The use of various digital tools to help achieve that is only likely to increase.

If you would like to find out a little more about how we can help you improve your in-store customer experience, please give Studio Tait a call on 01582 460990 or visit www.studiotait.com.

 

Robert Rosser is creative director at Tait working across retail, brand & hospitality design. He takes an innovative and commercial approach with clients to develop store concepts, from strategy, environment to communication. Robert works closely with teams to ensure successful interpretation of a client’s brief is delivered from concept to reality. His client list includes Topshop, Primark, The Crown Estate, Sainsbury’s, Harrods, River Island, John Lewis & Gap.

Crafted: Working to deliver long-term ROI…

We’re Crafted: a full service digital agency that’s been solving marketing challenges for brands since 2005. Our ethos is Experience Better; empowering our clients to deliver valuable online experiences for their customers, using insight driven strategies. We achieve this across our four pillars of Consultancy, Development, Design and Online Marketing.

Experience Better embodies everything we do, from our results-focussed approach to the way we build trusted partnerships with our clients.

 

Contact us at:

W: www.crafted.co.uk

T: 01473 213 222

E: hello@crafted.co.uk