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From clicks to bricks: the ultimate customer journey in retail 

Only a physical or only an online customer journey no longer exists. Your customers expect a seamless connection between the online and offline experience they have with your brand. A well-thought-out omnichannel strategy therefore is a must. 

Potential car buyers spend hours searching online for their new or used car before visiting the showroom. Once in the showroom, the ultimate goal is to let the customer leave with their new car. Of course, this does not only apply to selling cars. Smaller purchases such as a new laptop or winter coat also follow a similar process. There are many steps between entering a store or showroom and the actual purchase. 

Stores and showrooms are much more than just a sales location. It is the place to strengthen the personal connection between your brand and the customer. The customer’s choice is often made before they even set foot over the threshold. That is if they come to the store in the first place. You have to be a good sales professional to get that specific customer to change their mind or to sell additional products or services. 

The magic of a real experience 

Research shows that customers are positive about the use of technology in physical stores, but that many opportunities are still untapped. Because as soon as the customer steps in, the added value of the physical store or showroom must be visible to the visitor. The magic of a real experience must be decisive. Just the smell of brand new tires and a fresh cup of coffee is not enough. After all, the customer’s real reason for the visit is to see his or her dream car in real life. In the fashion boutique, the ambiance in particular must match the shopper’s expectations. The customer expects a seamless connection to their online experience, whereby the customer is immersed with visual content that showsthe latest fashion trends, among other things. This can be done, for example, by means of digital signage in the shop window, an interactive touchscreen to put together your ideal outfit or an attractive scent that should trigger certain associations. 

Interaction and personalization are key 

Let’s continue with the showroom example. Online, a customer fully dives into his personal preferences. Filters are an important tool here. Only the cars of a certain brand, year of manufacture and color are visible. In a showroom you have the opportunity to show the customer a broader aspect and you are able to take the customer along in an interactive and personal sales process. It is the optimal mix of technology and a personal connection to give the customer that wow experience. Interaction and personalization are key here. 

For example, at Volvo dealer Van Roosmalen in Veldhoven, First Impression set up an interactive car studio, where the customer composes his ideal Volvo on a touch table. In addition, the customer enters his preferences on the touch table in an online tool, takes a physical sample of his upholstery of choice and also chooses his additional services, such as insurance, in a playful way with RFID technology. The mix of physical and digital means makes buying a car a cross-media interplay. 

Watch the full story about the omnichannel approach in the Volvo showroom

The role of the physical store 

To find out exactly what the role of your physical store or showroom should be, it is wise to analyze the customer journey of your customer. Someone doesn’t buy a car every year. In addition, there is also a strong difference between the buyer of a new car and a buyer of a used car. A new jacket has a completely different journey. Fashion has a different value for most women than for men. Research into the behavior of your target group offers a huge number of starting points for aligning your online and offline strategy as well as possible. 

Ultimately, a shopping cart in an online shop and a physical store are not very different from each other. It is the ultimate shopping experience that has to convince the customer to actually make a purchase. Could you use some inspiration for that? Feel free to visit our experience center where you can find numerous examples to make your store or showroom an ultimate experience that can also seamlessly connect with your omnichannel strategy. 

Get in touch

Loek Wermenbol

+31 13 523 41 80
l.wermenbol@firstimpression.nl

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