One of the major findings of a report commissioned by US company Raydiant confirms that physical retail is not dying, but evolving. Retailers who stay focussed on true in-store experience will, it asserts, thrive.
The survey polled the shopping habits of 1000 consumers in the physical and online space. The findings were startling, but for any business already working through their digital transformation, they were not alarming.
Companies who are well placed to face the future know that a good in-store experience is incredibly important to consumers (nearly 70% according to Raydiant). Almost a quarter of respondents said they’d visit a physical store more often if the owners provided unique experiences.
Successful businesses in Australia are well aware of the importance their customers place on their digital and physical needs, and none more so than companies in the financial services industry. When it comes to the necessity of providing unique customer experiences, banks, especially ‘second tier’ companies, are ahead of the curve. It’s out with old thinking, in with bright, omni-channel, omni-functional community spaces.
Their focus is on creating a customer experience that puts their needs at the heart of everything the bank does. In some branches the new broom of digital transformation has swept away the past so thoroughly, you’d be forgiven for thinking you had walked into a boutique gallery or hipster café by mistake.
While these spaces still serve traditional bank functions, they offer so much more. Digital signage keeps you informed, touch screen kiosks allow you to do basic banking, browse and download brochures, and organise your financial affairs. Frontline workers are on hand to guide you through more complicated matters. But you might also check out an exhibit by a local artist while you’re there. After hours some branches turn into hubs for local musicians and other community events.
They’re a bank and a community centre rolled into one. They work because these digital savvy companies have put their customers in the middle of the design - we get to decide what we want from a branch, not the other way around. They are a perfect illustration of how a bricks-and-mortar presence can fit seamlessly into the digital landscape and provide a unique experience, which is what consumers demand. It’s the future of thriving retail, and it’s already here.