LS:N Global is a division of: The Future Laboratory
 

Is personalisation the future of bricks-and-mortar retail?

05 : 07 : 2017 Retail : Architecture : Digital
JOOOS Fitting Room by X-Living, China JOOOS Fitting Room by X-Living, China

As physical retail continues its inevitable evolution from inventory warehouse to experiential showroom in answer to the convenience of online shopping, future shoppers will launch their own Take Back Control campaign.

Kathryn Bishop, senior writer, The Future Laboratory

Taking back control has become one of the ubiquitous buzz phrases of the year, echoing back and forth across the Atlantic between Brexit Britain and Trump’s America. Now, The Future Laboratory’s research suggests that a new wave of retail consumers is about to pick it up and run with it.

Until now, the consumer conversation around phygital retail – the increasing convergence between bricks-and-mortar shops and in-store digital technology – has been very much about brands being in broadcast and data collection mode.

Nifty online technology – staff armed with iPads, immersive multimedia events and geo-location apps – has been driven largely by a brand marketing imperative to draw technology-savvy consumers away from their screens and back on to the high street, while collecting as much information about them as possible.

But as physical retail continues its inevitable evolution from inventory warehouse to experiential showroom in answer to the convenience of online shopping, future shoppers will launch their own Take Back Control campaign – by expecting to hyper-personalise the mood and ambience of bricks-and-mortar stores.

We will see a new development of The E-motional Economy – a major consumer trend The Future Laboratory identified in 2016 and has been tracking the evolution of ever since.

In the past, we have showed how online retail platforms are editing collections to match shoppers’ temperaments, with The Department Store for the Mind curating collections in line with whether a visitor felt playful, anxious, serene or curious, and recommending items to meet, soothe or amplify such moods.

Tomorrow’s shoppers will be able to request a music playlist to browse the aisles that only they can hear, in-store scents and sounds that calm them down or pep them up, depending on their mood.

Such a retail approach will gather momentum with stores focusing on creating sensorial stimulation that can support the wellbeing of shoppers while catering for their appetite for focus and efficiency. But it will become much more of a two-way conversation as Millennial and Generation Z shoppers – accustomed to being able to hack and mould their online experiences – demand the right to set the mood in stores.

Future consumers will want to be able to use their mobile devices to engage with, and even control, in-store technologies, allowing them to create a personalised shopping bubble that follows them around the store.

A report by in-store sensory specialist Mood Media reveals that 55% of Millennial shoppers in the US would like to control the music they hear in-store. Within 10 years, their smart devices will incorporate personal AI devices that understand their needs and preferences, and can interact with branded in-store counterparts.

Consequently, tomorrow’s shoppers will be able to request a music playlist to browse the aisles that only they can hear, in-store scents and sounds that calm them down or pep them up, depending on their mood, and personalised VR and AR experiences that make a bricks-and-mortar space feel like their very own personal playground.

It’s an approach that promises to deliver both happy customers and happy brands. Eight out of 10 (82%) US Millennials surveyed by Mood Media said that in-store music makes them relate to a brand. And when music is combined with scent and visuals to create a branded atmosphere, 72% of US Millennial shoppers said they are more likely to revisit the store, and 60% are likely to linger for longer.

To find out more about how to evolve your bricks-and-mortar experience for a Generation Z audience, book one of our Retail Futures trend presentations.