Breakthrough Thoughts on In-Store Experiences

Woman scanning product tag in a retail store

As several big-name retailers begin downsizing, others are investing more in their in-store experiences—some for the first time ever—and adding mobile to the mix. Although the cards are stacked against traditional brick-and-mortar, omnichannel shopping is alive and well, and retail stores are a key component.

Register for our next webinar: "Retailers: Are You on the Road(map) to Success?"

Hear from top e-commerce executives and what they're saying about the importance of retail stores and their upcoming plans for enhancing the in-store experience:


This forward-thinking brand already uses their smartphone and tablet apps to capitalize on Singles' Day sales, shoppable video, and more. Now, Farfetch plans transition from pureplay to omnichannel retail by opening a "Store of the Future" this year, which will focus on personalization by leveraging data.

The future of luxury fashion, we believe, will involve — to a large extent — the physical store... But the future of the physical store will be augmented by digital platforms. At this intersection of physical and digital retail, many new customer-focused, unique experiences are suddenly made possible.
— José Neves, Founder and CEO
José Neves, Farfetch Founder and CEO

Rent the Runway

After its flagship store opened in New York in 2013, more locations popped up in places, like Chicago, San Francisco, D.C., and Vegas because Rent the Runway quickly realized the benefits of brick-and-mortar stores—people with appointments purchase 26x more often than online shoppers. Its stores are outfitted with check-in kiosks, which help associates learn about shoppers' preferences, and offer customers styling sessions.

It's more like a club, or a place that you feel like you're kind of a member of.... We find for a lot of our customers, that experience is what makes them fall in love with our stores.
— Maureen Sullivan, President
Maureen Sullivan, Rent the Runway President


Nordstrom plans to focus on uniting its online and in-store experiences after seeing sales drop for over a year. A new associate app is expected to enable employees to send recommendations directly to their customers from the retailer's online catalog. The company is also exploring self-checkout. 

The way customers are choosing to shop in a more digitally connected world continues to change, and we know we need to find ways for our stores to evolve with them. This is a challenge but we also see a tremendous opportunity to leverage our stores in ways that will allow us to serve customers into the future better than anyone else.
— Erik Nordstrom, Co-president
Erik Nordstrom, Nordstrom Co-president


Since the downfall of some athletic and department stores, Nike is dedicated to customizing experiences in their own stores. A multi-floor store in Manhattan offers brand enthusiasts adaptive lighting in the dressing rooms to see what clothing looks like in different locations, testing floors for specialized shoes, same-day deliveries, and more. Mobile integration plays a key part in their strategy, where shoppers can book one-on-one appointments for consultations. 

Consumers just expect more. They expect more immersive experiences at retail like you are seeing here.
— Heidi O'Neill, President of Global Direct to Consumer
Heidi O'Neill, Nike President of Global Direct to Consumer

Barnes & Noble

Potentially looking to expand its customer base, Barnes & Noble built a restaurant inside the store, which locally sources beer and wine, and is completely surrounded by book displays. Associate and customer ordering systems are an integral part of the in-store experience.

We know we have a lot to learn, and we welcome that. We want this to be a special place … and we will work to keep improving.
— David Deason, VP of Development
David Deason, Barnes & Noble VP of Development

Are You on the Road(map) to Success?

Learn how to transform your omnichannel retail strategy and which retailers are leading the way with their online and in-store innovation.

Join our webinar on Tuesday, January 31 at 1:00 p.m. ET with Branding Brand CEO Chris Mason along with guest speaker, Forrester Principal Analyst Brendan Witcher.

Register for the Webinar

Topics: Omnichannel Trends Solutions

The Pros and Cons to This Year's Most-Wanted Shopping Feature

Buy online, pick up in store is this holiday season's most wanted shopping feature.

“Buy online, pick up in store” (BOPIS) is about to have its best year yet. About half of holiday shoppers expect to use BOPIS more than they did last year.

Get your free download of “Holiday 2016: Consumer Shopping Trends.”

This trend stems from more and more shoppers expecting fast, free shipping in addition to people being more comfortable with researching and buying online. It’s also a hit among app users—86% say they’re interested in BOPIS via mobile shopping app.

Although it’s popular, “buy online, pick up in store” may not be easy to implement, but you might see a boost in your customer experience and conversion.

The benefits of BOPIS

There’s an opportunity to resolve the issue of abandoned carts on websites and apps with “buy online, pick up in store.” NRF found that most people leave products behind because shipping costs made the total more than expected (56%) or the order value didn’t meet the free shipping requirement (45%).

Letting your customers click and collect their items in the same day guarantees a cheaper alternative to traditional e-commerce and a faster purchase-to-procurement timeline. 88% of millennials say they buy online and pick up their purchases in store to save money.

The downfalls of BOPIS

There’s really only one downside of offering “buy online, pick up in store:” you need to make sure it’s seamless and convenient. Forrester says:

It isn't easy orchestrating all the parts to make it look effortless to the customer — from a single view of inventory to staff training and compensation to eradicating old but very human channel conflict fears—but doing so meets expectations.

BOPIS, ship to store, reserve online, click and collect, or whatever you want to call it isn’t a new phenomenon, but it’s a trend that’s come to be expected from omnichannel retailers (much like fast, free shipping). Smarter retailers are taking it a step further by transforming their stores into mini fulfillment centers, according to NRF.

Holiday 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

We discovered what people plan to browse and buying during the 2016 holiday shopping season. Check out what we found in the survey results. 


Cyber Five 2016: Consumer Shopping Survey

People who purchased holiday gifts between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday revealed what they thought of their online and in-store experiences. Take a look at the survey highlights to find out how shoppers felt about this year's Cyber Five.



Topics: Omnichannel Trends Survey Holiday Solutions

BBI Feature Spotlight: Buy Online, Pick up in Store

Buy online, pick up in store is in the BBI Omnichannel category

Holiday shoppers are embracing omnichannel this season.

Whether it’s to save money, avoid crowds, or have better access to inventory, the ability to buy online and pick up in-store (BOPIS) is the preferred holiday shopping method. According to NRF, 88% of millennials say that they’d buy online and pick up in-store to save money. 49% say they’ll use BOPIS more than last year.

Moving forward into holiday, retailers should understand BOPIS best practices. The Branding Brand Indexwhich measures brands’ digital solutions from the consumer's perspective, scores retailers on their BOPIS experiences. American Eagle Outfitters and Helzberg Diamonds both received high scores in the Omnichannel and BOPIS categories:

American Eagle, 78 BBI 
Not only are shoppers able to buy online and pickup in-store, they can reserve a product online, try it on in-store, and then purchase it. Like BOPIS, this feature allows consumers to create their own available inventory before even entering the store. 59% shop online to save time, and this feature allows you to do just that because shoppers know ahead of time that a retailer will have the products they want. 

Helzberg Diamonds, 81 BBI
Buy online, pick up in-store isn’t just for retailers in the fashion industry. Helzberg Diamonds’ BOPIS experience helps consumers make expensive purchases without entering the physical store. To help shoppers feel comfortable making a big online purchase, the site includes FAQs detailing the specifics of how to order and pick up the product.

 How does your BOPIS experience compare?


Topics: Omnichannel BBI Solutions

Best of the BBI: Omnichannel

Here are the top 5 retailers who are top performers in the BBI for omnichannel strategy.

The future of retail lies in forward-thinking strategies that merge in-store and online shopping experiences. The Branding Brand Index, which measures brands' e-commerce experiences from the shopper's perspective, determines overall scores based on several categories—including Omnichannel. 

The BBI scores Omnichannel using six criteria:

Android & iOS App Banners
  • A call-to-action in your site's header that directs users to your Android or iOS mobile app
Buy Online, Pick-up in Store & Cross-Channel Persistent Cart
  • The ability for shoppers to order online and pick up in a store, how well they can access cart items across devices
In-Store Product Availability & Store Locator
  • The ability for shoppers to find products and stores closest to them

The following retailers scored 5/5 in the Omnichannel category: 

  1. Coach, 84 BBI
  2. Guitar Center, 78 BBI
  3. Anthropologie, 77 BBI 
  4. Vitamin Shoppe, 74 BBI
  5. Advance Auto Parts, 73 BBI

Mobile apps can undoubtedly play a key role in improving the customer experience across digital channels.

Anthropologie, the only brand from the list with a mobile app, features iOS app banners on their mobile site. According to our consumer survey, 72% of consumers recall discovering a retailer's app on the brand's website, and 74% are likely to use a retailer's app while waiting in line in-store. 

Cohesive desktop and mobile sites also contribute to a strong cross-channel strategy. High-scoring omnichannel brands all feature the ability to buy online and pick up in-store or easily find a nearby store on their e-commerce channels.

For example, Advance Auto Parts smartly advertises the ability to buy online and pick up in-store in 30 minutes on their desktop site. They also conveniently include a store locator to direct people in-store—all signs of a strong omnichannel presence. 

These retailers are Omnichannel All-Stars—their streamlined e-commerce channels ultimately create a better shopping experience. 

How can your brand build out an omnichannel strategy?

Topics: Omnichannel BBI Solutions

[FREE DOWNLOAD] Webinar Recap: Conversational Commerce and Your Omnichannel Strategy


Branding Brand CEO Chris Mason partnered with Chubbies founder Preston Rutherford and Forrester analyst Brendan Witcher to talk conversational commerce and omnichannel retail. Whether you missed our webinar or you just want to review the highlights, we've got you covered.

What you'll learn:
  • How smartphones change the way people shop online and in store
  • Where retailers are failing their customers
  • What retailers are doing to keep up with the latest shopping trends

Download the recap

Topics: Omnichannel Trends Solutions Apps Marketing Recap Company Webinar