Fewer and fewer people enjoy shopping in “real” stores anymore, when online shopping is so fast and convenient in comparison. In brick-and-mortar stores, there are often long lines, too many other customers, apathetic employees who may not be well-informed about various products—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. With negative factors like these, it’s easy to see why many customers are choosing to shop online instead. However, several stores and outlets have noticed this trend and are doing their best to change and meet the expectations that modern customers have.
One of these stores is Story, based in Manhattan, New York. Every few weeks, the theme of the store changes; for example, the latest winter theme is “Home for the Holidays”. Customers have been flocking to the store since it opened in 2011, and Story has been profitable ever since. As the Washington Post explained, part of what makes the store popular is that it has a high “Instagram-able” factor due to offering activities like DIY workshops, yoga classes, and cooking classes. During the busy holiday shopping season, Story even paid for food trucks to be on-site. Customers were able to relax and enjoy a complimentary lunch while getting their gift shopping done. By offering things above and beyond the average store experience, Story is attracting customers who want to spend time and money in a local neighborhood hub, and increasing customer loyalty as well.
Other stores are following this trend of offering more-than-ordinary experiences. Nordstrom recently unveiled Nordstrom Local in Los Angeles, which boasts features such as wine, a juice bar, and personal stylists, all free-of-charge. With the help of complimentary stylists, customers can find their perfect outfits—and although the items can be selected online as well, it’s the experience and expertise of the stylists that brings people into the store.
Overall, retail stores seem to be more aware of what customers are wanting, and many are changing their approach to match these new expectations. So far, it seems to be working: as long as customers have a positive experience and feel valued and like their business is appreciated, they’re coming back to stores.
Feature image: Waiting in a Store Image by Unknown, Wikipedia Commons