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How to bring consumers back to offline stores? [Post-quarantine research by Epson]

How to bring consumers back to offline stores? [Post-quarantine research by Epson]


Forced isolation has given consumers a new experience: when you can't go to an offline store, you have to shop online, even if it previously seemed something new and unfamiliar. As a result, the ratio of "live" and virtual sales has significantly changed in favor of the first. Epson experts conducted a large-scale survey and found out how to bring customers back to the physical stores. We have made a summary of this work for you. 

The point of no return has been overcome, and now the only thing of value to offline consumers is their impression and emotional experience of the buying process. More specifically, 75% of respondents from Europe are willing to change their buying behavior if the store offers a more interactive environment.  

A Modern Approach

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The Experimental Futures research showed that 75% of respondents would be happy to return to "live shopping" if retailers equipped outlets with elements of an interactive environment. 

Thus, modern technology can positively affect the volume of traffic in retail outlets. Prospects for development in this area are also positively assessed by Statista experts. They note that the European retail market showed intensive growth after May 2021. Thus, compared to April 2020, total retail sales increased by 284%. 

If you can provide a comfortable chain of interactive experiences (self-service checkouts, virtual dressing rooms, in-stock displays, and so on), consumers will be more excited to visit your retail spaces. 

Як повернути споживачів в офлайн, дослідження Epson

VR and augmented reality

The research also revealed a high value of immersion solutions. That is the introduction of VR (virtual reality) and various practical elements of communication between the customer and the product. A modern approach to organizing retail spaces is critical for young shoppers. Thus, the study found that 7 out of 10 millennials, which is about 67% of respondents are much more likely to buy in the offline store, which is equipped with experimental elements.  

But strangely enough, a similar stance is taken by older adults, as well: 65% of respondents from Generation Z, and also 58% of Generation X, and surprisingly, 52% of "boomers". 

More Engagement

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Epson's research shows that audiences want to see more interactive digital environments. Popular options that are already actively spreading in the European market are, for example, 3D mapping or a gesture/movement control system. 

That is, retailers are advised to pay attention to digital technologies that help to evoke positive emotions in the retail space. The more admiration and vivid impressions you evoke, the longer the customer will stay inside. And also, the more time the customer spends in the store, the higher is the probability of visiting again... and making a purchase. 

Why it matters

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Ukrainian brands step by step are beginning to adopt the world experience, and retailers are beginning to realize how modern technology can qualitatively change the interaction between the client and the product. 

We've highlighted 4 main reasons why you really should modernize your retail spaces:

  • Competitive advantage and the USP ("unique selling proposition"). One of the few reasons to come to the offline store is the new and interesting interaction inside. This can be interactive showcases, the ability to simulate trying on a dress, the ability to see available product modifications when you click on the price tag, applying mask effects with different colors of decorative cosmetics directly on your face in the mirror, and much more. An online store can't give the customer that kind of playful experience, and many offline stores neglect these features. Even one small feature is enough to set you apart from your competitors and attract new traffic to your retail space.
  • Increased time in the trading space. This point logically follows from the previous one. When a customer is comfortable at all stages of interaction, and the space also gives him the opportunity to have fun, he has no reason to leave quickly. And the longer we stay in the retail space, the more likely we are to make a purchase. 
  • Growth of LTV and return visits. If you have to choose which store to go to, you will prefer the one that gave you a more positive experience. For example, many Ukrainian supermarkets have implemented self-service cash desks: you can either buy goods yourself or stand in line for the cashiers. This is an element of optimization: you don't have to communicate, and the queue at these cash registers is always shorter. If you're faced with a choice between a supermarket with lines and the ability to quickly complete your purchase with a self-service checkout, you'll likely prefer the second option. Comfort and a positive interaction experience encourage you to return repeatedly. 
  • Growth in the quality of customer service. The introduction of high-tech solutions, as a rule, replaces or supplements the work of full-time employees of the retail space. That is, it reduces the feedback time in situations of increased traffic as well as reduces the human factor. 

Boldly embrace the power of digital technology and bring retail spaces to life. Create comfortable and modern environments, and then no eCommerce will replace a visit to an offline store for your customers.