How the In-Store Experience is Better Than Ever

The Container Store drive through service

As online retailers rush to open actual stores, traditional shops have been adding technology and programming to make it more fun just to walk through the door.  From technologically-capable dressing room mirrors to old school initiatives like trunk shows, out of all the ways brick-and-mortar retail is trying to up its appeal, these five means are our favorites.

1.  Drive-through service:  Both Sears and The Container Store let buyers make purchases online and pick them up, outside their physical retail outposts, from waiting clerks.  Hey, if it works for burgers and fries, why not apply it to shelving, Tupperware, and appliances?

2.  3D artwork:  Why pay fifteen bucks for a 3D movie when you could get the same experience, for free, just by heading to the mall?  The Australian chain Sportsgirl worked with the artists Mat Maitland to create 3D window art, featuring the brand’s clothing, to lure in shoppers.  (Yes, they provide the glasses.)

3.  Trunk shows:  The best way to try on new clothes is with the designer present, no?  Trunk shows combine personal attention and brand-customer interaction in its highest form.  This old fashioned enticement is being made new again, thanks to the fact that it can’t be replicated online.

4.  In-store apps:  Retailers across the board are embracing mobile, but some physical stores are one-upping everyone else by offering apps that specifically apply to the in-store experience.  Harrods, for instance, offers a mobile program that helps visitors navigate its 1 million square feet space and check all of the store’s 29 restaurant menus.

5.  Emailing mirrors:  Don’t fret, they won’t email images without your permission.  A number of retailers have implemented non-creepy, camera-equipped mirrors.  Our favorite example is Selfridges — the London department store’s dressing room mirrors come with built-in cameras, to see every angle, along with the technology to send out snapshots to friends for input.

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