Designing for the human experience is an important tool for designers and retailers. To design for the human experience is to create more personalization and emotional connections for the consumer. Retailers can achieve these experiences for their customers by embracing data-driven solutions, personalization, and technology into their physical environments. Interior designers can help implement the physicality of these solutions in the design of space.
Following interior design trends reveals a fundamental shift in how retailers are trying to connect with consumers. To be more connected and personal, retailers need to think about their target market as individuals. This can be done by obtaining data to better understand a customer’s buying history, thoughts, and opinions. By gathering this data, designers and retailers will be better informed on how to solve consumer pain points and incorporate those solutions into their physical stores.
For instance, this data can be used to identify and improve the design of a store such as having a more strategic store plan, redefining the checkout desk, incorporating wayfinding clues to lead a consumer to a specific point in a store, and other physical indications leading the consumer’s attention. Understanding technology driven data and using it to personalize one’s experience creates a more enriched customer journey.
TECHNOLOGY AND PERSONALIZATION
Companies who offer personalized experiences drive impulse purchases, have fewer returns, increase their revenue, and create more loyalty.1 Interior design has proven to be an important part of this unique offering that retail brands are striving to achieve. The physical space of a store presents experiential opportunities that are unavailable with only an online presence. In an article from Forbes, Hyken explains that after surveying 1,000 consumers, Segment, a customer data infrastructure company, found most of them were “less than impressed by the lack of personalization in their shopping experiences”.
Retailers can increase personalization by incorporating both employee engagement with customers and the integration of technology in and out of the store. “Shoppers expect brands to remember who they are, whether they’re on a digital channel or in-store,” says Peter Reinhardt, CEO and co-founder at Segment. “However, very few companies can actually deliver on these tailored experiences.”1 To better engage with customers, an employee should ask questions and figure out how they can help customers in the best way to satisfy their needs. By recommending items that could pair nicely with previous or current purchases, employees can encourage customers to spend more money in store while making the customer feel appreciated and remembered.
In this mobile-fueled shopping landscape, the retailers that thrive see the opportunity to be present and be useful for shoppers in what is referred to as micro-moments: those moments when people are in a store and turn to their smartphones to know, do, or purchase something. These moments can happen within the store environment, engaging customers to pick up items and learn about them or by giving recommendations on their latest purchases. The placement of technology within the store is also key to properly engage with the consumer at all touch points desired. In this way, the strategic plan and design of the space is highly important to enhance the customer journey.
RETAILERS WHO ARE SUCCEEDING: FABLETICS, KATE SPADE
A great example of using technology to better the customer’s physical journey is the design of Fabletics’ stores. The use of iPads inside dressing rooms allows customers to easily access information about a product and communicate with employees about their needs. Implementing this technology stabilizes the flow of a customer’s experience by having information readily at hand and to communicate with on- site employees.
Engaging customers to play a more active role in their environment and, therefore, retail experience is Kate Spade New York’s use of Perch technology. This allows customers to customize their own handbags in-store and have it created for them by employees.2 By engaging their customers in an immersive experience, the brand promotes an element of memorable fun for the shoppers. This type of interactive augmented reality experience promotes brand loyalty through appreciation and fond memories.
Trends in retail interiors reveal a deeper strategy to engage with customers. Personalization, design, and technology in the retail environment can all work together to create a unique human experience.
By truly engaging and knowing their customers, brands can edge out over their competition.
These considerations and experiences lead to more customer loyalty and satisfaction.
1Hyken, S. (2019). Personalized Customer Experience Increases Revenue And Loyalty. [online] Forbes.com. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/shephyken/2017/10/29/personalized-customer-experience-increases-revenue-and-loyalty/#215cd5694bd6 [Accessed 4 Jun. 2019].
2Grill-Goodman, Jamie (2019). Kate Spade Adopts Interactive Augmented Reality to Personalize Store Experience. Risnews.com. Available at: https://www.risnews.com/kate-spade-adopts-interactive-augmented-reality-personalize-store-experience [Accessed 5 Jun. 2019].