Extensive Offerings Bring Executive Education to the Windy City
Retail Store Tours, a division of Consumers in Motion (CIM) Tours, is expanding Retail Store Tours Chicago beginning June 5, 2023.
“In reviewing retail innovation worldwide, we see that Chicago stands out in offering the retail formats winning in retail today,” said Dan Hodges, CEO.
Retail Store Tours reviewed hundreds of stores that demonstrate the value of technology, the importance of design, and what it takes to deliver a superior customer experience, according to Hodges. The result is an array of tours that will engage and educate retail executives of all levels.
The initial tours offered are the Magnificent Mile® + Shops at Northbridge, River North, Oak & Rush, Southport, Fulton Market, Fashion Outlets Chicago Airport, and Westfield Old Orchard. In addition, themed tours will cover the following topics: Grocery, Sustainability, Beauty, and Physical and Digital approaches.
Each tour is curated and led by an industry expert who guides the small group on a prearranged route. At each location, a brand representative will be available to answer questions and provide behind-the-scenes insights into the store’s retail methodology.
Participants may sign up for tours by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Retail Store Tours team used six key factors that contribute to the retail success to analyze and select the brands for the Chicago tours. These factors, based on exclusive research, are:
The Human Touch: Stores that hire and evaluate sales associates based on their kindness and ability to empathize with customers.
Employee Training: Continually training employees to update their product knowledge and people skills.
Use of Technology: Custom engagement technology that interacts with shoppers in-store.
Business Models: Companies that focus on personalization and customization.
Store Design: A minimalist approach based on a clutter-free and high-engagement environment.
Customer Management: Store associates who use the human touch combined with technical tools to engage customers and co-create the shopping experience.
Tour attendees will observe firsthand six essential approaches that successful brands employ to connect with consumers. They are:
Social Media Designed Stores: Winning physical stores are designed for sharable word of mouth and social media experiences. “In China and in North America, stores, restaurants, and shopping centers are being redesigned to inspire social media sharing — and it is working,” says Hodges. “Millions of shared impressions drive in-store and online sales, traffic, and brand awareness.”
Family Shopping Places: Stores and restaurants are designed for children, teens, and parents, offering opportunities to engage in physical spaces together or individually. There has never been a more important time to build environments that foster a sense of community and togetherness. “The shopping mega-center American Dream and Camp have built their brands around family shopping experiences,” Hodges observes.
Health: Supermarkets are adding health products and expanded health sections, and, adds Hodges, “shopping centers such as Westfield Century City in Los Angeles offer a wide spectrum of health services in the shopping center.”
Five Senses Experience: Where touch, hearing, sight, smell, and taste are all activated. Grocery stores are at the top of the list for five senses experiences, according to Hodges. The return to physical stores has fostered a revival of bringing the five senses into the shopper’s journey in unique and imaginative ways.
Meandering Design: Replacing long monotonous straight lines of goods stacked from floor to ceiling with circular pathways creates environments that foster discovery and exploration. “Shoppers can discover and explore new products and services as though they’re in an outdoor food market,” says Hodges. “It creates excitement and engagement.”
Smart Store and Smart Customer Interactions: Hodges believes that the state of technology in stores is now equal to customers’ technical prowess. “RFID can be used for frictionless checkout or to find items in the store where you’re shopping or if not, at a store nearby, where it can be shipped to your home or office,” explains Hodges. With the growth of hybrid shopping, technological interconnectedness remains a key driver to build smart interactions. QR codes can be used to launch product videos, explain the composition of an item, demonstrate functionality, describe features, or show assembly guidelines. “Salespeople with smart CRM tools can help shoppers find items and check out in the aisle,” says Hodges. Understanding where the consumer is in their readiness for technology is a key consideration for retailers to be able to deliver meaningful enhancements.