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Retail Right Now

3 min read
retail now

I entered a square, like many other European squares, edged with restaurants, colourful buildings, and an atmosphere of somewhat sleepy hustle and bustle. And in the corner of my eye this rustic, pretty little store.

The outside of this store looked divine, it met the expectation of every instagrammer with its authentic carts of fresh and dried produce, chilly, garlic, onions, all hung thoughtfully as though it were curated for a photograph. 200 years of history and a few thousand Insta posts later it still stands, beautifully and invitingly restored.

I was greeted by the hosts as soon as my foot crossed the threshold, they excitedly offered homemade and local goodies in the form of lemon honey and a regional liqueur, instantly capturing my attention and drawing me into their space, ready to tell their story. And I was listening.

Now, you’re probably thinking I’m going to suggest you get your customers a little tipsy, and you’re not wrong. But I’m not referring to the liqueur.

Creating an atmosphere in your store and a moment of joy… all of this makes people giddy with excitement, it captivates people. It moves people.

So, how do we take the magic of authentic European retail, and translate it into our Australian stores?


Are you making people feel good?

The role of the retailer is to make people feel good, curious, excited. Though this wasn’t always the case. Our expectation was far more basic in the past, people bartered, exchanged goods and went their separate ways with the produce in hand. It was a daily necessity.

Our customers today seek out retail experiences as a leisure activity and the very basis of this inspires the idea that shopping must be a pleasure, and in no way a chore. The minute your store prohibits the customer from feeling good, that is the moment they will give up and leave.

Creating positive shopping experiences – which amount to $21bn in sales lift annually – and addressing negative shopping experiences – which amount to $71bn in abandoned sales annually – create the basis for the $92bn unified commerce opportunity in Australia.”

Adyen 2019 Australian Retail Report

Locking customers into your store experience for long enough to reach the check-out requires so many layers of ‘doing things right’ from an engaging and knowledgeable store assistant, to choosing the right lighting for your product display.

It’s more than the store

Stores are the architecture of our communities, they represent how we live, our loyalty to our local environment and ultimately our willingness to support our economy. But in trade for this, our customer expects value. Value in experience, value in product, value in social interaction.

Knowing what our people want is important and presenting the vessel that carries that ‘wanted stuff’ at its very best makes a difference. We are drawn to tidy entrances, interesting branding, uniqueness, and thoughtfully designed window displays. Even when you’re selling lower value items, customers still want to feel good about the brand.

Personalised shopping experiences exert a positive influence over customer purchasing behaviour; 52% of shoppers claim to have made at least one additional purchase as a result of a personalised offer they received in the past six months.”

Adyen 2019 Australian Retail Report

No, it’s not just about our favourite word: experiential

The high street or the shopping centre doesn’t need to become a theme park to be a success. Retail theatre is a term that keeps bobbing to the surface of retail news, but imagine if it was all show stopping experiences in every single store…do you feel exhausted at the thought? I do.

Genuine hospitality at our local grocers can be the perfect experience, no thrills, a locally curated box of goodies, just how we want it. As opposed to a brand experience at Nike where they pump out adrenaline into the atmosphere, generating the excitement we come to expect.

Whatever end of the spectrum you’re sitting at, just make sure it’s relatable and real to your customer.

Read Is Retail in Australia in a Death Spiral


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