Stores Become Experiences

Stores Become Experiences. Despite all the talk of Metaverses and more applied technologies like AR & VR, online commerce is still far from being a truly experiential experience. Brands will differentiate their in-store experiences by learning from their audiences, connecting online convenience to offline experiences. Retailers must understand their consumers at a local level and incentivize them to buy into the brand experience, not just the products, to increase lifetime value from customers. Differentiating their in-store experiences from the growing competition will give retailers a chance to survive and thrive in the future.

This trend originates from the report:

Shopify - Commerce Trends 2028

Brands diversify and differentiate their in-store experiences. The job market is in flux. Retaining staff has been a struggle for many employers, and 59% of brands attribute their challenges to human resources.

Four in 10 workers around the globe say they might leave their jobs in the near future. Half say higher pay might persuade them to stay, but as brands tighten their belts under today’s financial pressures, layoffs are becoming more likely than pay raises.* Still, stores need teams ready to serve today’s customers who are used to blending multiple channels—and often expect retailers to do the same.

Such expectations are changing the role of the retail worker, and the role of the retail store. Brands are learning from the audiences they’re attracting to redefine their store objectives. That also means differentiating their in-store experiences from the growing competition.

Shopify Retail senior product marketing lead Kevin MacGillivray points out a recent trend of making in-store experiences truly experiential. “Let’s assume it’s a soap store,” says MacGillivray. “Try the soaps, smell them, use them—do what you can only do in store and add that bit of magic you can’t get from buying on a website.

” He adds, “You can now shop from exercise equipment, the car, the couch. All things you can’t replicate in a digital world. There’s no good way to do that yet because it’s so tied to your personal experience as you use it.

More and more successful in-person retailers are doing this.” Value can’t just be a buzzword in the future of retail. It’s more and more important for store owners to understand consumers at a local level.

If they want more lifetime value from and for customers, it starts with incentivizing them to buy in on the brand experience, not just the products”. "The more we can connect online and offline, the better the customer experience. And that ultimately gives retailers and main-street brands a chance to survive and thrive going forward.

" - Arpan Podduturi, Director of Product Retail and Messaging, Shopify. Even half of Generation Z shoppers,157 who famously spend more time online than any other age group, favor in-store shopping. And their spending power will only grow—even more than the $360 billion USD158 in their pockets today.

Although foot traffic is up, it’s still at least a few percentage points159 below pre-pandemic levels. But the positive effect physical retail has on online channels—dubbed the “halo effect” of brick and mortar—is persuading more digitally native brands160 to expand offline. Physical and digital retail are no longer separate lanes of business.

A physical presence can supercharge an online one by doubling as an interactive billboard that builds customer trust. Brands get on average 37% more web traffic161 the quarter after opening a new physical store..