Technology can all help brands stand out here, by removing points of potential pain, so smoothing the customer journey, or by adding excitement to the experience.
Augmented reality (AR) is one way that leading brands are delivering on experience – technology that’s more accessible now that Apple and Google have both unveiled developer toolkits.
For many consumers, their first experience of AR was with the game Pokémon Go, but it’s retail brands that are among the fastest adopters of this technology now.
Gap, Zara and Neiman Marcus are among the apparel brands experimenting with in-store mirrors that allow shoppers to superimpose clothing over their reflection.
US home improvement chain Lowe’s has launched an in-store navigation app that allows users to better navigate stores and access product information.
And in Shanghai, augmented reality permeates the Starbucks Roastery. Both the Roastery app and Alibaba’s Taobao app reveal the entire “bean to cup” story of Starbucks coffee as visitors point their phones at features around the store.
There’s also a gamification element that further adds to the experience: as people move around, they unlock virtual badges that enable them to earn a customised Roastery filter, which they can share on social media.