06 Mar 2024 | 3 minuti lettura
A New Customer Experience Model in the Retail World

Pubblicato: 06 Mar 2024

Tempo lettura: 3 minuti

Categorie: CommunicationPeopleSales

Have you ever seen a clothing item or accessory in a shop window and then bought it directly online, without having gone into the shop? As you can imagine, this is one of the trends that has emerged in recent years, especially with the increased use of e-commerce, much cheaper online prices and the closure of physical shops during the pandemic period.

This overview helps us understand that in a short time the retail industry has completely changed and that shops today, if they do not evolve and change strategically, also taking as an example processes and business models from other sectors, such as hospitality, risk becoming a distant memory.

On this last aspect, it is fundamental to pause and understand that, often, what makes the difference in a purchasing process is the quality of the interaction that emerges during the experience. Hospitality is rooted precisely in this and in the importance of being able to enhance every aspect of human contact with one’s guests and customers.

Back to the world of retail, in order to maintain and develop their customer base, in recent years, many retailers and major brands have begun to formulate new sales models that aim to solve these problems and effectively re-launch the world of traditional stores and the experience that can only be had through human contact. These strategies often involve technology and the web, combining and merging with offline, in-store sales.

For example, the Massimo Dutti store opened in Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is innovatively designed in every single aspect. In fact, the fitting rooms are interactive, i.e. they are able to scan and recognise clothes in order to provide customers with advice, always combined with that of the staff, on how to best match the chosen items. In addition, in the online shop, one can book their clothes and then go to the shop (without being worried about not finding the right size), where the customer is warmly welcomed by the dedicated staff, who meticulously take care of satisfying requests and sales.

So what are the advantages of an approach where technology and online merge with the physical shop?

  • Human warmth: nothing replaces the value of personal interactions, every moment spent in contact with people in the store generates emotions
  • Engagement: when technology and online combine with the unique and emotional support of the staff, an innovative, engaging environment is created that is anything but cold or overly standardised
  • Gain for all: innovating and at the same time enhancing traditional retail gains customers in terms of new and positive experiences and at the same time shops and brands offer positive shopping experiences that can lead to more money being spent by customers.

This method of integrating online and offline business has found a specific terminology, namely “O2O“, which has a double meaning: i.e. “Offline to Online” and “Online to Offline”. In detail, “Online to Offline” embraces all online strategies that prompt users to visit the shop to make a purchase (e.g. when it is possible to reserve a size in the shop), while ‘Offline to Online’ embraces strategies in which the online experience is also integrated into the physical store (e.g. through a QR the customer is guided to the online experience to perform a specific action).

After these considerations, we can come to a conclusion: the retail world, like so many others, needs new energy and innovation. Human warmth and the feelings that only personal relationships can convey must be combined with what technology is offering. We are talking about an active revolution, in which physical shops do not undergo change, but are strategic players in these evolutions.

In this change, the world of hospitality should be taken as an example and as a model to be implemented in all those realities that involve the public, customers, people and thus, human interactions. Indeed, this sector teaches the art of care and attention, the mastery of knowing how to welcome, how to listen, and the ability to create added value through human contact, the essence of every valuable experience.

Hospitality teaches the art of care and attention, the mastery of knowing how to welcome, listen and the ability to create added value.

Articolo pubblicato nella seconda uscita del magazine New Hospitality Lux

Martina Dalla Vedova

Marketing Manager Hospite S.r.l.