Showrooms are the perfect way for digital brands to expand; stores are focused on the selling element whereas showrooms concentrate on the experience side of things. In a climate where rent is soaring, and consumers are seeking a seamless and memorable in-store experience, showrooms are the perfect middle ground.
They have the potential to improve brand identity and increase footfall; offering exclusive products and discounts in-store and a more all-round experience, tempting customers to come and visit instead of buying online.
An experience to remember
As a result, experiential marketing is on the rise; helping online sellers to expand in a way that reaches consumers in a physical sense, to compete with their bricks and mortar contenders. Glossier, an online beauty brand, is known for its impressive experiential marketing and creative showrooms, which famously attract visitors from all over the world.
It’s showroom time
Opening physical spaces at the moment retailers are struggling to survive, seems like a counterproductive move for online businesses. But really, there’s no business, like showroom business. Offering the best of both worlds, showrooms pander to customers who crave real-life trying-on of garments, the touch and feel seekers, the ones searching for guidance, and the experience hunters.
“Online-only players that open a store see an increase in sales of 5 to 8 times.” – The Economist
Showrooms not only offer a lot to the customer but have some serious benefits for retailers too. The Economist carried out a study and found “That online-only players that open a store see an increase in sales of 5 to 8 times.” It has the potential to make money but also save money – Ning Li, Founder and CEO of Made.com, said a showroom works to “Eliminate every unnecessary cost, like agents, importers, brands and warehousing, including the physical stores.”
Showrooms are about building and moulding brand reputation; experience, customer service and high-quality technology are just a few factors that we judge upon entry. Enabling customers to meet face-to-face with brand ambassadors, reinforces brand identity and helps visitors to buy online with confidence – which in turn, reduces returns.
Zalora, a South East Asian e-retailer, runs pop-up showrooms as a way of building brand integrity. Tito Costa, Zalora’s marketing chief explained to The Economist, they are a “Way to build confidence either in a new way of shopping or in a young brand.” In Zalora’s showrooms, customers can try on clothes, chat with stylists and order items online from either computer stations or using Zalora’s app.
Without requiring the extra real estate, showrooms can have endless aisles enabling them to stock entire collections, arrange next-day home delivery and provide unique qualities a store couldn’t. With less time being spent on unnecessary processes, more time can be spent on creating the best experience possible. This means pushing the boundaries of traditional retail to better suit the modern shopper; including VR waterslides and in-house canyons. A positive physical experience is the name of the game – if achieved, it triggers a more emotional reaction than an online journey does, it’s that simple.
“A positive physical experience is the name of the game – if achieved, it triggers a more emotional reaction than an online journey does.”
Try before you buy
Matches of Fashion, an online luxury retailer, maintains a few showrooms in London for customers to experience products and get suggestions and advice from sales assistants. The try before you buy element is one of the showrooms biggest pros – Retail Design World recently did a study that found 62% of consumers still prefer to try clothes in-store before buying them online – showing how important the in-store experience is to support online purchases.
As a way of unifying offline and online, showrooms help digitally-based brands to build better, longer-lasting relationships with their customers. If a customer has a positive in-store experience that makes them feel good, this will have a bigger impact than any online journey.