The great challenge of retail is reflect the values and personality of the brand, creating unique environments, recognizable to customers, thrilling spaces. This helps to quickly identify customers with products, which results into a increase of sales.
In a world where almost everything can be done digitally, stores still make sense? Absolutely. A shop gives you a unique experience engaging the senses through an environment designed to make the customer feel comfortable and leisurely (which leads to increased purchasing opportunities).
This is well known by the people at Apple, and hence the opening of a new store becomes a social event. Consumers are more satisfied with the experience with the product itself, but are willing to pay three times more for it (as also happens in the case of Starbucks).
I wonder if this could be transferred to the case of banking, because traditionally is associated with negative concepts (mortgage payments, loans, receipts, etc.) and create a welcoming environment in which the client does not feel like a number and go out of the branch with a good feeling that drives him to return.
Good point Rocio. I personally think that if bank´s staff is polite, professional, kind and interested by my person and my needs I would go there no matter what, to say more, I would like to return. By my experience if in some place the environment isn´t so good but the staff is nice to me, I don´t care about the design, fancy stuff or futuristic technology, I care about being welcoming. As people say “Every man to his taste”. For example, when I´m going to the Nespresso store to buy coffee capsules I´m always go out of there with the good mood, they always treat me right and make me feel special. And off course I want to come back. We are all humans; we all want to feel us unique and important, is our human nature 🙂
Physical stores will always be a staple of the retail experience even as we progress further into the digital age. If you have not read the Forbes article “Which Is Better For Retail Sales, Online Or Offline Customer Engagement?” then you should – it gives great insight as to why physical stores will be around for years to come. There is an experience to be had when you visit a store in person that you cannot experience online. The sensory input alone is enough to make physical stores worthwhile; to be able to actually try a product and see it in-person is very persuasive. Human interaction is a heavy reason why physical stores are still popular as well, and this can be applied to any industry, even banking. People can shop online for banks and do their banking electronically, but there will always be individuals who prefer physical locations. The people in the branches make it so that these customers are comfortable and cared for – something a machine cannot do. When a bank is able to translate the human emotions that people carry when dealing with finances – the stress, worry, grief, confusion, etc. – and respond to them with corresponding service – compassion, caring, concern, generosity – then the customer will see the first hints of a real, human experience with the bank.