By Michael Jaszczyk, GK Americas
Bloomberg reports that this year, the U.S. crossed the tipping point of mass adoption of electric cars. As convenience, grocery and general retail stores continue to add charging stations to meet this growing market, consumers are spending more time at brick-and-mortar shopping locations. To entice consumers to spend their available time with you as a retailer, the role of the store can evolve in three distinct ways to increase offerings and become more experiential.
1. Foodservice Offerings
An increasing number of retail verticals are introducing new services related to food offerings. Whether it’s rolling out prepared foods a shopper can quickly grab, integrated coffee shops or in-store dining areas, grocers, convenience stores, and general merchandise retailers – think bookstores – have all adapted. Offering foodservice is a great way to entice a consumer who is waiting 30 minutes for their car to charge to stop in. Why not sit down, relax, and have a bite to eat?
But amid these new offerings, consumers’ high expectations for service, quality, and convenience remain. To enable exceptional customer service from anywhere in the store, look to a unified point of sale system. With a flexible POS, shoppers can then decide how they want to interact with you.
For example, a shopper can choose to purchase a book at the cash register but then order a coffee through their mobile app or a nearby kiosk. Or maybe they prefer to order a coffee and sandwich with a barista, and then pay at the table once it arrives. Consumers can now even order from a connected car.
In fact, Juniper Research estimates that by 2026, the global transaction volume of in-vehicle payments will exceed $4.7 billion. A unified POS can connect all of your touchpoints to create one smooth experience, while also ensuring you can utilize the data gathered to continue to improve the quality of service and speed.
2. Experiential Stores
A sub-par or typical shopping experience isn’t going to entice a consumer to enter your store while they’re charging their car. Instead, an immersive or interactive experience, such as the ability to test out products, or receive on-site tailoring, will. Experiential retail has become a popular way for brands to create memorable engagement in physical stores. A Shopify survey found that within the next year, 32% of brands plan to establish or expand their use of pop-up and in-person experiences.
For example, Casper Sleep Shops allow consumers to test out mattresses in store, as touch and feel are critical factors in making a sale. Nike Rise is an innovation-driven store that offers several customization options, like the ability to personalize a variety of products.
According to McKinsey, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver these types of personalized interactions – and 76% get frustrated when it doesn’t happen. Pairing technology innovation with customer service can lead to an even greater experiential shopping journey. What’s more, the next time a consumer has some time to spend and needs to go shopping, they’ll remember your brand.
3. Click-And-Collect Options
Click-and-collect services continue to grow as consumers shop in omni-channel formats – opting to place an order online and drive to a store to pick it up. Now, shoppers can experience the full shopping journey from within their connected car – including browsing, adding to the cart, payment, and receiving updates on their orders. With these capabilities in place, it’s clear that you must expand and advance your click-and-collect services to meet these needs.
Beyond just your store, consider a strategic partnership. If you lack a physical space to implement electric charging stations, partnering with companies such as parcel services or Amazon lockers can help service shoppers at charging locations. For example, as a shopper visits their favorite grocer with a charging station with time to spare, they also can stop at a nearby locker to pick up their order from your apparel brand. Even without a physical retail location, expanding click-and-collect options further builds out touchpoints and creates convenience.
Entertain And Service Consumers As They Charge Their Cars
While electric cars and charging stations still feel like relatively new concepts, retail can play a critical role as they become more mainstream. Electric vehicle charging stations are a great way to attract new customers, retain your current ones and generate more revenue. Offering experiential shopping to entertain and service consumers during that time will be key, whether it’s by food service options, expanding click-and-collect, or personalized in-store service.
About The Author
Michael Jaszczyk is CEO of GK Americas.