Pre-coronavirus, much of the high street was already transitioning in order to offer more in the way of face to face experiences for customers visiting their stores, providing them with unique and captivating opportunities in order to achieve a sale and, in turn, build brand loyalty.
More brands were embracing demonstrations and immersive experiences as a means of creating a buzz around certain products, enabling communities to form and interact with each other, as well as with the brand itself.
Since the three month closure of non-essential stores, and the subsequent slow and tentative return of customers to an almost clinical environment in which to shop, the need to adopt a multi-faceted approach across all touch-points, both physical and virtual, has become patently obvious.
Encouraging shoppers to revisit the high street currently is a task in itself.
Although many were eager to get back to their favourite stores, some are understandably still anxious about queuing outside and spending time in closer proximity to others in city centres and shopping malls.
They first need to be reassured hygiene is high on the agenda, while enticed with new and exciting reasons to visit stores, so to direct marketing budgets towards demonstrations where staff can safely connect with customers on a more personal level and build trust, is a smart move.
These personalised experiences available in-store must also translate virtually, giving people the option to access them online while still meeting the individual needs of the shopper.
New methods of achieving this must be explored by brands as consumers are becoming increasingly more expectant of a seamless transition between the virtual and physical service they encounter.
Creative and authentic shopping experiences online, such as demonstrations or masterclasses, can still give customers a genuine feel and a deeper level of understanding of a product, empowering them to make an educated choice, despite not being able to physically touch it.
Brands who accomplish this and continue to push forward from a technology perspective are undoubtedly more likely to succeed in the long term.