Whilst online shopping is big business for all brands, in today’s developed omni-channel world, the need to physically immerse ourselves into a brand is still really important.

When we go to a shop, we like to choose our fashion purchases carefully, weigh up our options and try them on, or at least appreciate that it may fit based on its cut and quality. Our research shows that around three-quarters of consumers say the ability to touch, feel, choose and compare products before they buy them is a key benefit of shopping in a physical store. More than a transactional experience, shopping is a social activity that we like to share with others. Over half (53.25%) of shoppers like to take their friends, partners, or family shopping – either as a social occasion or to help decide what to buy.

An open, sociable atmosphere can be harnessed by trained and amiable staff that consider the needs for shoppers that not only want to hang out with friends, but also want to discuss their ideas before making a purchase decision. Indeed, over a third (39.20%) of shoppers say they value advice from in-store staff whilst shopping. Brand staff need to be collaborative with shopping groups to not only help with purchase goals but also to create an environment that these social groups will want to return to.

To support the shopping process, brands need to offer an engaging in-store experience that accentuates the need for a social environment and immerses the shopper into the brand. When it comes to buying clothes that require a careful decision, almost three quarters (73%) are likely to go in-store. Fashion choices especially evoke discussion, debate and positive emotions amongst shoppers as they compare clothes and spend. The physical shop still provides that connection with your brand and instant association and buzz that people need to become a follower of your brand.

As shoppers we like, especially for those special luxury purchases, immerse ourselves in the total brand experience from the plush carpet to the lighting and customer service which add to the customer journey and make that product seem exceptionally good value in comparison to high street brands.

A lot has been said about the retail environment changing due to the influx of channels to engage with, but in many ways the deep rooted desire to shop for apparel is still the same. We still need the physical experience of shopping. More than a pastime for many – it’s an intrinsic part of life and brands become engrained in the fabric of our lives when it comes to what we choose to wear.


By Daniel Todaro, MD of Gekko. 

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