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Retailers are wooing back consumers with games, DIY options and luxury experiences

Retailers are wooing back consumers with games, DIY options and luxury experiences
  • Retail outlets are reinventing themselves to provide consumers with experiences instead of just selling goods.
  • Stores are trying to bridge the retail-consumer gap and give consumers a reason to visit stores rather than make purchases online.
  • Beauty industry is providing pop-up stores that provide ‘instagrammable moments’.
  • Retail industry is also experimenting with smart mirrors and virtual trial rooms.
Instead of sniffing through dozens of perfumes to find one that you like, you can now create your own unique blend at a high-end store. This is the face of new-age retailing – selling consumers an entire experience instead of just a product, according to a report by real estate consulting firm CBRE.

A Jo Malone store in Mumbai is now offering its patrons perfume mixology that enables them to make their own unique blends. You can also now walk into Adidas’ largest store in Bangalore and find an exclusive football floor and a gaming-inspired lounge. Puma’s store in the IT hub has high-tech offerings like F1 simulators and interactive retail screens.

Hyatt’s Andaz Delhi Residences is taking personalisation to a different level by allowing patrons to curate their own dining experience while its restaurant offers a personal chef and a butler.

These are just some of the ways in which retail outlets are reinventing themselves after the pandemic. They do not just want to sell goods but also ‘experiences’ with customer engagement, says a report by real estate consulting firm, CBRE.

“Following the pandemic, the productivity of retail spaces came into sharper focus, with experience becoming more crucial. Customers are now looking for engaging, immersive and convenient experiences that give them a reason to visit stores rather than make purchases online,” said ‘The Retail Perspective on Experience and its Impact on Real Estate’ report by CBRE.

The stores too are trying to bridge the retail-consumer gap with experiences. “Physical retail locations must evolve into places where people want to go, rather than have to go, if they are to succeed in the future,” said Anshuman Magazine, chairman & CEO of India at CBRE.

These experiences differ across product categories. For example, food and beverage companies are driving multi-sensory experiences with sustainability and health as main themes. The beauty industry is providing pop-up stores that provide ‘instagrammable moments’.

Retail industry is also experimenting with smart mirrors and trial rooms that are allowing customers to try things without putting them on. H&M in Germany provides the most spectacular of such experiences as their virtual trial rooms use the Avatar technology.

“This technology creates a body duplicate which can try up to 30 products, thereby giving the customer an idea about their best options,” the report says.

Not just for footfalls

While the intention is to bring people who are saturated with online ordering back to the stores, companies, especially in the luxury retailing, are keen on driving a ‘constructive’ relationship between the brand and the consumer.

Also, footfalls across retail and recreational spaces in India are growing. In the April-July quarter, it grew by around 100% as compared to the first quarter. To keep them coming, brands have been resizing and calibrating their physical store strategies to drive sales both in online and offline.

Thanks to the reinventions, in the first half of 2022, there has been a 500% increase in project completions as compared to a year ago.

“While we have reasons to believe that retail business activity has already moved towards pre-pandemic levels, Covid-19 has modified consumer priorities. It is therefore imperative to deliberate on how real estate stakeholders can improve their spaces to enhance the experience quotient and subsequently value,” said Magazine.

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