Why Customers Are Seeking Slower Shopping Experiences

There has been, since the beginning of the e-commerce boom, a perpetual fear that online shopping would usurp and entirely replace the brick and mortar high street. What has happened, however, is quite different. Technology and online platforms have supported and changed the way high street retailers operate, altogether complementing them. Retailers are even looking to further bridge the gap between their online and physical shopping experiences by introducing click and collect options, app profiles, and in-store digital experiences.

There is, however, an alternative retail culture that is growing in response to this increasing digitisation, and it is known as slow shopping. These retailers are creating experiences that move away from a reliance on digital services, intense advertising, and supplementary services, seeking instead to create a fulfilling shopping experience that quietly generates a more lasting impression upon shoppers. Here’s how they are doing it.

Less Noise 

Retail can occur in a number of ways, from too densely packed shelves to an abundance of information. Slow shopping experiences work toward quiet retail spaces, swapping and consolidating various posters for a single, more refined display mounted on elegant stand offs. Others are prioritising store space of stock, preferring to select and promote ‘hero items’ over broad selections of products, emphasising that in a culture of busyness, less truly can be more.

Retail Experts 

One cost of having less branding material and information within your store is that customers may find themselves with questions or seeking guidance. This is where slow shopping concepts truly excel, focussing their attention on retail experts, that is, members of staff that are highly trained in specific services or products.

By offering such expertise, customers are able to interact with a human and build retail relationships. Historically, there may have been pressured to sell or advertise during customer interactions, however, in a digital age where human elements are often absent from transactions, retailers are finding value in exemplifying a brand through great character. 

Cultivated Aesthetics 

There is an ongoing tussle between store products and retail aesthetics. Stores spend considerable amounts of time seeking to balance utility or stock with their desired brand design. As retailers slow down, occasionally offloading their stock and checkout services to online platforms, they are able to better cultivate their shop space into a desirable aesthetic.

With attention turned to shop shelving and furniture, retailers are giving more attention to the style of their store, choosing items and furnishings that exemplify their brand identity. For example, stores with organic products are refitting their shop spaces with natural materials and greater amounts of natural light. 

Less Stress 

Stress consistently ranks among the most impactful features a retail space can have upon customers. As a customer begins to feel more stressed, their likelihood of leaving increases too, even neglecting to make a purchase if suitably severe enough.

Certain studies have shown that technology, sign-ups, and information abundance can all contribute to feelings of stress. Even upbeat music, which was once seen to motivate customers into making purchases, has now become associated with pressure and stress. In response to this, slow shopping retailers are seeking to move away from such pressures and instead create spaces that customers feel happy and comfortable to be within.

Sophie Green: Sophie's blog focuses on e-commerce strategies and trends. Her background as an e-commerce entrepreneur informs her insightful posts.

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