IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 15 Dec 2014

Shopping in a Social Hub


Retailers work hard to ensure their customers can enjoy a seamless and consistent omnichannel experience, but with the added complexities of personalisation and brand loyalty to contend with customers expect more than just a new item of clothing from their shopping experience.

Customers want ‘shoppertainment’. They expect the in-store experience to provide this, not only delivering the product they want, but also want excellent customer service and a visually stimulating and engaging environment. They want to be able to socialise whilst doing their shopping and make more of an event out of the process.

High-street retailers have had to work hard drawing shoppers back in to the city centres, and with the lure of the internet this has been an even harder challenge. Research consultancy Allegra Strategies had revealed that coffee shops on the high street help to boost footfall by almost 30% and local economies. Over 50% of consumers questioned stated that they would be more likely to stay and shop in a city centre destination if there was a coffee shop nearby.

Retailers are therefore submerging themselves in these ‘social hubs’ but that is not all they are doing. They are also developing in-store experiences to not only drive customers in store, but also to keep them in there for as long as possible.

Creating digital content displays in stores is one way in which retailers are working to keep customers engaged in the physical store. Burberry for example presents their runway collection on large screens and provides the ability for customers to order items seen in the collection from iPads.

Magic Mirrors and other emerging in-store technology helps to elevate the in-store experience allowing customers to virtually try on one garment and see how it would look on them in differing colours and styles. This is also developing in regards to social media with customers now able to share the outfits they are trying on via multiple social networks for instant feedback from family and friends.

Drawing on the coffee shop theme, stores such as White Stuff regularly advertise tea mornings where they draw customers in with the lure of tea and cake.

It is through ‘social hubs’ and use of current and emerging technologies that increases footfall in stores but also delivers endless ways in which to combat the engagement and brand loyalty aspect of consumer expectations. Just remember that all this needs to be linked seamlessly and consistently with your overall omnichannel offering.

If you are interested in Retail Assist and would like to see how we could help improve you in-store experience by helping you to deliver an omnichannel experience then please take a look at our website: Or you can get in touch with us via email: or call us on: 0115 853 3910.

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