Delivering experience

Thomas Fletcher, Projects Director at Sigma, talks about what landlords can do to support their tenants’ experiential ambitions

No longer content with the traditional model, today’s consumer is in search of the ultimate in-store retail experience, one which seamlessly blends the world of the physical and digital using the latest innovations in technology. The challenge for brands is delivering intuitive transformational programmes that reshape physical stores to support omnichannel shopper journeys, drive footfall and keep consumers coming back for more.

“Given that some 49% of buyers have made an impulse purchase after receiving a personalised experience, and 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience (CX), it is perhaps unsurprising that experience driven retail has become a key priority for today’s brands,” says Thomas Fletcher, projects director at Sigma.

High-concept ‘retailtainment’ stores are becoming the new norm on the UK high street. Fletcher believes that for landlords and retail property management teams, this seismic shift towards ‘retailtainment’ presents a positive outlook.

“The health of the UK high street – once seemingly rapidly escalating into a potential crisis, as stores closed their doors for good – has a new lease of life as businesses opt against clearing out of their physical outlets and instead seek to maintain a high-street presence by re-inventing themselves.

As retailers look to forge ahead in a post-lockdown landscape, they are quickly realising that in order to win in a new world they need to capitalise on the opportunities that technological deployment can deliver, and transform their stores to meet shifting consumer behaviours and attitudes. Part of this responsibility, he says, falls to the landlords to support this transition and ensure residents are catered for.

“Now more than ever, it is crucial for landlords to back their retail tenants by directly engaging with them to understand their business strategy and needs, and supporting their future growth in the most effective way possible,” says Fletcher. “By adopting a collaborative approach, landlords and retailers can work together to drive the industry’s long-term success.”

As retailers seek to deliver distinctive and memorable shopping experiences, and experiment with different technologies and concepts in-store, he says landlords can assist by being knowledgeable about new trends and understanding how they can be integrated into their bricks and mortar stores; to ensure a fresh, relevant and dynamic experiences for shoppers. This is particularly the case when it comes to ensuring the infrastructure is in place to support widespread technological deployments.

In multi-floor experience-led retail store concepts he suggests providing centre-wide Wi-Fi that expands the provision of wireless internet beyond the stores themselves and into social areas such as food halls, coffee shops or even cinemas, art galleries and sports arenas that are becoming increasingly common in ‘retailtainment’ venues.

 “When it comes to delivering large scale, technology-led transformational programs, having the support of a trusted and experienced partner can be fundamental to success, ensuring complex technological transformational programmes are deployed seamlessly and perhaps most importantly, cost-effectively across estates,” he adds

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