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Today’s customers are used to having information at their fingertips while shopping online or on a mobile device.  Customers’ expectations have also increased dramatically for the in-store shopping experience; customers now expect more personal and engaging experiences when shopping at brick-and-mortar locations.  According to current research, one way that retailers can enhance the in-store experience for customers is by using in-store video to simulate interaction.  Live video content can engage shoppers by bringing an outside experience into the store and allowing shoppers to feel like they are part of the scene.  For example, Hollister, uses live content in its Fifth Avenue, New York store  by streaming video from its Huntington Beach, California store.

Other stores, like Topshop, haven’t been as successful. The video walls in its stores aren’t optimized for the screen size, making the models in the catwalk videos it streams  look malformed.  Some stores like Primark, have installed videos where customers can’t see them.

Shoppers today want to feel like the shopping experience was created just for them.  A recent study found that 49% of consumers are willing to provide personal information in return for a relevant shopping experience. This implies that videos could be used to prompt sign up for memberships, loyalty cards, or mailing lists.  Not only does this increase the personal interaction for the customer, it also helps the retailer collect better customer data.

Shop windows are also a good alternative.  Harrods became the first retailer in Europe to trial transparent screens.  These digital window displays show products in animation that can appear and disappear before the shopper’s eyes.

Customers’ interactions with videos will continue to evolve, but it is important that retailers begin to use video as a powerful platform to attract shoppers.

Discussion Questions:

1. How can retailers engage customers with in-store videos?

2. Implementation is everything!  How can some retailers improve their in-store video experience?


SOURCE: Dharmendra Patel, The Guardian, April 25, 2013