With the explosive growth of ecommerce consuming attention, headlines, and marketing budgets, it is easy to forget that while growing, ecommerce is not king when it comes to total volume of retail sales. Brick and mortar locations still hold the title of majority holder, and as brands and retailers look to enhance and evolve their customer journey to meet changing consumer demands, in store retail is coming out swinging with new ways to convince and convert consumers.
One of the most notable developments seen since the end of last year is a growing number of shop-in-shop concepts, including partnerships between Ulta and Target and Tonal and Nordstrom. While not a new strategy, when paired with new technology and a focus on the larger customer journey, shops-in-shops present brands and retailers with unique opportunities to build brand awareness, reach new customers, and leverage consumer and product data to drive more efficient sales.
We talked to our team about how our clients could be taking advantage of these retail experiences, and how we could help them amplify their impact with engaging digital experiences across any retail format. These are our favorites ways brands can use 3D to optimize their shop-in-shop experience.
Consistency in experience and offerings is key to creating and maintaining brand value. For brands who have an established online brand, including elements of their digital experience within a physical retail location delivers dual value to shoppers, particularly if the included feature is customization.
Adding digital kiosks that allow shoppers to explore product features and options, evaluate benefits,and view selections creates an immersive experience that goes beyond the typical in store transactions. Shoppers can tailor and choose the product that fits their exact needs, while also learning more about the brand and the products they offer. From the brand perspective, these immersive experiences also offer the opportunity for cross or upselling by introducing shoppers to additional products they may otherwise overlook.
For shoppers who are previous customers of the brand, including functionality to view saved favorites and previous purchases brings the convenience of online to the consumer’s physical shopping experience.
Additionally, brands who have deployed these experiences are able to collect data on what shoppers are interested in and what and where they purchased from the brand. To optimize the customer journey, brands can offer shoppers more personalized recommendations, promotions, and news based on where they choose to shop, whether that be on the brand’s site or within a partner’s shop-in-shop.
In designing a shop-in-shop experience, brands and their partners must not only determine a physical layout, but what elements will be included to design the best experience for shoppers. For brands looking to optimize their square footage, utilizing 3D can provide multiple hands on brand experiences while saving on physical space.
Particularly in verticals such as furniture, decor, and even eyewear, the multitude of options available make keeping inventory of all configurations on hand difficult, if not impossible. However, the value of many options is degraded when the shopper is unable to view and choose what they need. Product visualizers and 3D configurators address this friction to purchase by alleviating customer concerns about what a product will look like in a certain color, material, or with specific add ons. Additionally, more immersive experiences have shown to drive a higher percentage of conversions, up to 70% conversions vs 30% for passive experiences, making the shop-in-shop a value driving asset for the brand.
Modern approaches seek to merge offline stores with intimate digital experiences. The lean forward approach allows for deeper relationships, self selection with more relevant content, and more of a consultation approach to further sales actions.
-Justin Scott, ATLATL CEO
The friction between discovery and purchase can further be reduced by deploying augmented reality, bringing products to life without ever needing them on the sales floor. Imagine trying on every pair of sunglasses a brand offers to find the perfect pair for your next vacation. With an AR experience, scrolling through the options and choosing as many as desired is easy, and doesn’t involve worrying about how many people have also placed the glasses on their face.
For products with configurable options, deploying AR allows consumers to view their newly personalized products in full scale 3D, confirming that what they have designed will appear as they intended.
The benefits of a shop-in-shop experience are not limited to brands whose products are easily displayed on a showroom floor; in store partnerships can be utilized for brand education and awareness as opposed to immediate sales.
Tonal, whose digital weight system saw explosive growth in 2020, announced that it would create 40 experiential stores within Nordstrom locations. These hands on experiences are designed to allow shoppers to experiment with the product prior to purchase; however most consumers won’t be grabbing the wall mounted equipment from the sales floor to lug home. The value to the consumer is in the education about the equipment, and how it can be used in their own life.
Similarly, brands who are looking to increase awareness or knowledge around their product or product category have the opportunity to leverage in store foot traffic with relevant retailers. For example, Trex Decking is a popular alternative to solid wood decks, and is generally sold through retailers such as Home Depot or Lowe’s. Trex may choose to create a shop-in-shop experience with one of these retailers to showcase the benefits of Trex over wood or other materials.
Since decks are generally custom built, there are countless options and designs that a consumer can choose from. Deploying a 3D experience that encourages shoppers to explore product options, view information, and even simulations of wear and tear on the materials provides exceptional value to consumers making a significant purchase. It can even be used to help determine what size of a deck the consumer believes they need. Since augmented reality brings products to life at scale, a Trex AR experience could show a shopper in store that the size that they think they want for the deck is in fact much smaller (or larger) than they imagined it would be. Discovering this early in the process saves time and headaches when designing their perfect deck.
The needs and demands of shoppers are changing, with the call for better experiences both online and offline getting louder each day. Brands and retailers have recognized the power of omnichannel approaches, and the integration of a digital and physical brand presence in driving greater impact for their customers and their business. As more brands look to leverage the reach of large scale retail, there is significant value to be gained by deploying immersive 3D and augmented reality elements within the physical space. Shops-in-shops may be the first stop on 3D’s accelerated path through retail.
Want to see how 3D brings products to life? Head over to our demo library and give our 3D configurators a try.