Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Online vs An In-store Experience

Guest Blogger: 
Styliana, Founder of White Vanilla Concepts

As a marketing manager and lifestyle blogger one of the things I enjoy, is thinking about consumer behaviour, upcoming young designers and their brand stories.  

It was no surprise, when I recently visited my hairdresser and the discussion quickly turned to business. "If you could get a haircut online, I'd be out of business." he said…how interesting. So, the conversation ended 40 minutes later, and my argument was that if you create a lasting customer experience, you won't lose any customers!

Online - the fad that won't go away
It's no secret that online shopping is trending, however shop front stores with a dynamic client experience will always have a place in retail. Every day I analyse, create and design brands for small businesses; what I have noticed in the past year is how consumers are attached to something more than just a cheap price tag and a seamless transaction.  Online has no doubt redefined our shopping experience; ABS Lifestyle (Social Trends Report) stated Australian online sales were estimated at $26.8 billion in 2010 and is predicted to increase to over $45 billion in 2015.

What I find great about the online experience with popular shopping sites such as eBay, Shopbop, ASOS, Gilt and Net-a-Porter, is that late at night as I am eating my sweet treat, there's something about just how many pages I can look though on the blouse section of ASOS - 23 pages is my personal best. 

Finding that cheap purchase isn't only cool, however it makes for a great work day when a parcel arrives at my desk.  ASOS does have an engaging website with added blogs, heavily reduced items, fashion pages, video catwalks etc. which keeps the user engaged, which is great.  

Retail shop front - here to stay
It's such a great feeling when you discover a new store and the customer service is defined by the friendliness, the décor, which has a story and just the feeling you get when they get it right, which engages you to make the purchase.  

There's no doubt, if you like shopping, you would definitely enjoy getting dressed up to go shopping and that's why shops such as Zimmerman, Fleur Wood, Alannah Hill, Sportsgirl, Provincial, Seed and Zara make the shopping experience truly a Saturday afternoon adventure! It's the type of place to take mum to choose a gift or share with friends because it is worth a visit. 

A lasting experience
The key thing to remember even when don't have a powerhouse brand is; connect with your customer by building a relationship, create as close to a unique experience as possible and of course, tell a story that suits the brand. 

Just because you're a bricks and mortar business, consider creating an interactive experience, one that fits in with your brand, things like: 
  • visual décor
  • add music to enhance the story 
  • allow customers to touch, play and experience the brand. 
  • a sweet treat to indulge in, and
  • a beautiful scent to remember

Marketing doesn't have to be too expensive or time consuming, but the key is to have a consistent story that creates a unique customer experience.




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Guest Blogger:
Styliana, Founder of White Vanilla Concepts
       
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