There’s a new buzzword in town that’s not just for car dealerships and furniture manufacturers anymore.
That’s right: showrooms.
Forget whatever visions of shiny SUVs on slowly rotating pedestals this may conjure. There are amazing examples appearing everywhere, from Apple with their international amphitheaters, to Casper with their sleep sessions, to REI with their in-store rock climbing adventures.
While your brand may not have its own retail stores, it doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the action. Sure, rock climbing may be a little trickier, but by looking at the big splashes others are making, you can easily adapt the trend for your own success.
1. Let Shoppers Test, Touch, Try
NYX Cosmetics offers interactive Beauty Bars that appeal to shoppers’ DIY habits. Bright mirrors and a sea of sample products invite consumers to sit down and try out a new look. Have questions? Both store associates and iPads offering quick and easy tutorials are at the ready. When they’re ready to buy, shoppers can put together their own eye palettes and scoop up goodies for their train cases.
How You Can Adapt It: Even a very streamlined version of NYX’s strategy can be highly effective for cosmetic brands. Create a mini Beauty Bar with one display stand, a trained brand agent, and an iPad with a few key tutorials. Then invite shoppers over to try the hottest new eyeshadow shades and lip colors, and put together their own mini palettes.
2. Go Back to School
Amphitheaters aside, Apple is doing a ton of cool things in their stores—including Today at Apple, where shoppers can enjoy free courses on its technologies and products. From GarageBand to Video Clips to Spreadsheet Creation, Apple offers detailed dives into the topics their consumers are interested in.
How You Can Adapt It: If you’re a consumer electronics brand—let’s say a camera brand—you can follow suit without rolling out an entire university-worth of courses. Create a month-long campaign with four topics your consumers ask often about (lens types, long-exposure photography, etc.) and dedicate one week to each. Set up a display with products and accompanying print materials (and offer digital versions they can email to themselves), and have topic-educated agents guide them through top tips and tricks.
3. Crank Up the Concierge Service
At the far end of this spectrum is Nordstrom, who’s latest concept store, Nordstrom Local, has…well, no clothing in it. Instead it offers free consultations with personal stylists who can discuss fit and fabrics with shoppers, offer advice and guidance, and then have the merchandise brought in for them.
How You Can Adapt It: Reign the idea in, and it’s a great model for clothing brands. By establishing trained brand agents as personal stylists, you can connect shoppers to the highly personalized service they’re seeking. If you’re showcasing higher price-point product, or launching a trendy new line, these in-store stylists can speak to your products’ selling points, showcase craftsmanship, accessorize new styles, and so much more.
4. Integrate Your Tech
What better way to picture furniture and installations in your home than to literally picture them in your home? Holoroom, the virtual reality visualization experience from Lowe’s, lets consumers choose kitchen and bathroom installations and explore them in a virtual space with dimensions customized for their own spaces. By being able to look at expansive (and often expensive) setups, shoppers could feel better about seeing how it would actually look in their homes, making them more confident to make the purchase.
How You Can Adapt It: The great thing about technology today is that even the smallest devices make a major impact. You don’t need a full virtual concept store to immerse consumers in your product—just one small VR headset will more than do the trick. Furniture brands could showcase their furniture in an array of designed digital rooms, letting shoppers see what pieces would look like outside of a store setting.
5. Have the Right People in the Right Places
Having dedicated, brand-educated store associates was always the hallmark—and strength—of classic showrooms. While selling the products was always the end goal, it was having those dedicated in-store teams that made the difference. By being able to explain product selling points, compare your brand and products to the competition, and help consumers with questions, they were able to help drive the final sale and create lasting brand engagement and loyalty along the way.
How You Can Adapt It: Having brand-right agents in your stores—whether they’re your own associates, an outside field force, or a combination of the two—allows your consumes to better connect with your products and brand. No matter how much technology booms, having that human touch is essential to closing the deal. And with agents at the ready, they can be sending you real-time data and insights that allow you make personalized action plans to optimize your store environments and see big results in little time.
Interested in learning more about how ThirdChannel can help your brand? Request a free demo now!