The International Retail Design Conference (IRDC) was held in early September in Montreal, Quebec. Diane Spiridoulias and Karen Kritzer attended the conference and they share their insights from the various networking sessions and information seminars which they attended. Their unique perspectives aim to help small retailer’s filter the information and the latest trends, covering hot topics within the industry.
Retailers are now being forced to figure out how to attract the ever-changing digital immigrant and digital native customer to their stores and keep them there for longer periods of time. In addition, retailers will also need to think about their e-commerce and how it fits into the retail experience and marketing budget. Some retailers are using digital in-store to enhance the shopping experience of their customers. But injecting such digital devices could be expensive and not to mention time-consuming, particularly if they fall flat to produce increase of sales for the retailers.
However, retailers have an obligation to acknowledge that customers have overwhelmingly “connected” lives. In their daily lives, they are sprinting between their work and homes in a persistent connected status. This connected status has a huge effect on their shopping behaviour. During a round-table discussion on digital retail at the IRDC conference, a designer thought of the digital retail world as disruptive to the shopping experience. The harsh truth is that customers don’t really care if their digital shopping behaviour is disruptive - they want what they need when they need it.
In addition, they want a total stress-free retail zone, with an infinite assortment of instant and exclusive member deals, coupons and discounts, the ability to shop with mobile, build a wish list for the holidays with ease, browse online or in-store for the best promotions, and an atmosphere that excites and stirs their imagination.
Ultimately digital engagement and entertainment in-store will help increase dwell time and satisfaction of the shopping experience and improve brand awareness. Some retailers realize that focusing on the needs of their customer will help improve the overall in-store experience and customer engagement. In the end, retailers must know their customers level of digital comprehension and build on that. Perhaps take it a step further than what is expected and build that trust and connection with the customer in both digital and human interaction.
Karen Kritzer of Organized & Stylish is a freelance visual merchandiser with over 12 years of retail experience. As a small business owner and freelance visual merchandiser, Karen can relate to the everyday challenges that retailers are faced with. The 12 years of experience she has with various top name brands and small independent retailers allow Karen to create unique action plans that achieve results for her clients.
Diane Spiridoulias is a passionate professor at Sheridan College, art director/designer with 18 years of professional experience – from managing in-house creative teams and day-to-day creative marketing operations within the beauty and fashion retail sector, to developing external client relationships, graphic design, idea generation, illustration, styling, photography and art direction.