With so many e-commerce businesses fighting for attention online, brick-and-mortar stores have a unique opportunity to connect with customers. In-store shopping is about more than selling products – it’s your chance to create an experience that will keep your customers coming back for more. Understanding what motivates your customers and designing your store around their experience can help convert in-store customers into brand ambassadors.
Why People Buy: Consumer Psychology
Before designing an experience around your customers, try to understand their motivation – their thoughts, inspirations, and challenges. Marketers generally use consumer psychology to learn their target customers' needs and wants and then design products, services, and experiences to connect with them, even before they enter the store.
Coming up with a strategy centered around your customer’s behaviors is a good place to start. This could mean educating your customers via a digital campaign that focuses on the features and benefits of an expensive product before they enter your store to help speed up the decision-making process or partnering with their favorite influencer(s) to help increase brand awareness. Understanding your customer’s motivations allows marketers to customize their efforts accordingly.
Do you know who your customers are or who they’re shopping for? Without digging into the data, you may not know who your customers truly are, let alone what they are thinking when they are in your store. Understanding who your customer is, where they are in their life journey and what motivates them can help you design an experience that meets your in-store customers where they are.
Consider a working parent shopping for school supplies over the summer. Based on the time of day, they may have their children with them. Adding child-friendly elements to the store can make the experience easier for the parent and more fun for the children, like kid-size shopping carts at grocery stores or coloring pages (and now tablets) at restaurants. When you anticipate your customers' needs, you create a connection that can last a lifetime.
As an interior designer, Victoria Schneyer's work centers around connecting brands with their customers through in-store experiences.
“Now, more than ever, brick-and-mortar has an important role to play to create engaging spaces in the retail landscape,” she says. “Physical retail more so than digital retail needs to connect on a human scale and build relationships that ultimately result in customer loyalty.”
How do you do that?
“Personalization is one way to do this,” Schneyer says. “By creating customer interactions with brand activations and events, the store functions more like a showroom, a gallery or a platform.”
Just remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. At my marketing studio, Tote + Pears, we use customer personas to help identify the needs of a client’s customers and then we build a marketing strategy that addresses their needs, challenges, and goals authentically. A well-crafted customer persona can help your team create business plans to account for who your customers are today and track trends that may shift their buying behavior in the future.
What’s inspiring them to buy?
With an intimate look into your customers’ behavior and needs, you can enhance your products and services to outshine the competition.
—David Barlev, CEO, Goji Labs
Every customer has something going on in their personal life. Understanding where they are in life’s journey can help you figure out how to build a better customer experience.
David Barlev, CEO of software development company Goji Labs, says tapping into these customer insights can go a long way for businesses.
“Leveraging research to produce customer insights is well worth it, but many don't know where to start,” he says. “It often feels weighty, formal, and overwhelming … but it shouldn’t. It can be very light and scrappy. It can be as simple as having an informal conversation with a handful of customers. With an intimate look into your customers’ behavior and needs, you can enhance your products and services to outshine the competition.”
Incorporating customer insights during your product or service development process can help you focus your energy on building experiences that create direct value.
Connecting Customer Needs With the In-Store Experience
We live in an experience economy, where people are drawn to brands based on what they experience during the interaction, both in person and online.
Kes Camara is our creative director at Tote + Pears, where our design mission is to bring people and brands together.
“There are simple and bold moves that can help guide your audience through a store,” she says. “Understanding the values and frame of mind of your customers when they walk into the store can inform what type of visuals should be placed in the store window and at the back or middle of the store. It helps to have a big image or color in the back to encourage people to walk in and explore.”
For example, Camara says, “for specific products or collections, it helps to create a visual path from window to table or wall, through a unique color, message, and image. Give your customers tools to explore and understand the product more. Some examples could be material textures, behind-the-scenes images and digital screens that allow for deeper exploration. It’s important to encourage the use of all five senses.”
Retail can potentially change many people's lives for the better – if you let it. Businesses that research their target audience and create personal and meaningful campaigns boost revenue and form new and long-term relationships with the customers who enter their stores.