The internet is a powerful thing. It connects people and showcases the world with a click of a button. Despite its powerful features, however, the internet is not capable of providing something that all humans need: experience.
Even though technology today offers convenience and speed, it cannot replicate the power of first-hand experience. LED screens simply cannot let you feel the touch of silk, the smell of cookies or the sound of a violin. While many of us research and inquire when buying items online, we know in the back of our minds that we are taking a gamble. Falling in love with a product would usually still depend on experience. This is the reason why physical shops have remained relevant in the digital age.
Showrooms, in particular, allow us to see in front of our eyes the potential of certain products. By actually experiencing the product first-hand, we get to buy items with peace of mind.
Here are some of the best showrooms in the world today that help sell products through experience.
Nike+ Trial Zone (Soho, New York)
As arguably the most famous brand of sports shoes, Nike makes sure that a trip to its store will tell you why you ought to join the bandwagon.
Many of their shops feature in-store athletes who will be able to recommend products based on your specific needs and attributes. Some branches, however, provide a bit more to their most discerning customers.
Introducing the Trial Zone in its Soho branch in 2016, Nike has created a specific area where you can immerse yourself in a trial run with their products.
If you’re into basketball, running and soccer, you’ll definitely appreciate the world-class facilities of the shop which demonstrate the features of their products.
Instead of trying out your new basketball shoes in a narrow aisle, Nike has recreated different sports environment for you to try out their products in actual scenarios. You can try dunking the ball in a court with an adjustable hoop and digital video screen.
While doing your drills in this environment, built-in technology provide real-time assessment of your performance. These highlight the benefits of Nike products to your game play, something that you don’t get to experience in online shopping prior to purchase.
Heidi O’ Neill, Nike’s president of global direct to consumer, explained why the Trial Zones of their brand stand out: “They’re truly personal, immersive, and 365, building on everything we’ve learned from connecting to consumers around the world.”
Nordstrom (Los Angeles and New York City)
Situated in America where several established retailers shut down in the last few years, Nordstrom has a reported customer growth of 4 percent in 2017. That translated to 33 million new customers, or roughly $15.1 billion in sales, an amount that seems almost miraculous in the digital age.
Luck, however, has nothing to do with Nordstrom’s staying power in the market. The company has managed to stay afloat through innovation, and this is clearly seen in its showroom known as Nordstrom Local.
First introduced in Los Angeles, Nordstrom Local barely has any products within the store. The shop assumes that you have done all the shopping before your visit, through their online shop or their mobile app.
What makes the space significant, however, is that it offers personalized services when you come by and pick up your purchase.
Nordstrom Local has in-house tailors, clothing stylists, manicurists, bartenders and other specialists who can meet your specific needs.
For example, if you come by the store to pick up a dress, you can have it immediately altered to fit you perfectly. Items intended as presents can be immediately gift-wrapped. Purchased items can be immediately returned or mended through this store. With Nordstrom Local, the key idea is service at its best.
Instead of rejecting technology, the company embraces it while reminding clients of the importance of having personalized encounters. With this concept in mind, Nordstrom has most likely secured its future amids online shopping, a feat that only a few established brands can claim today.
Contact Lenses (Toronto)
Eyewear is perhaps one of the trickiest things that you can buy on the internet. Contact lenses, in particular, are challenging to purchase without the help of an optometrist.
That is perhaps why Clearly, a Canadian brand that has its roots in online selling, built several showrooms across the country.
While the products of the store remain available in their websites, Clearly showrooms provide individualized services such as eye exams, contact lens fitting and custom lens design.
It has an on-location optometrist who can check your eyes even if you don’t have a recent prescription for eyewear. Following an exam or purchase, the shop will also provide you an invoice which you can use to apply for reimbursement from your insurance provider. You can likewise shop securely for designer glasses and shades in the store, allowing you to see and take home the item immediately upon purchase.
These showrooms ensure that optical needs are met and serviced well. With Clearly’s retail locations, you can be sure that buying eyewear becomes an enjoyable experience.
Even though online shopping offers much convenience and affordability, one cannot deny that experiencing a product or service remains invaluable.
Showrooms provide a venue for retailers and customers to come together and interact with the product on hand. They provide the human factor in commercial transactions, assuring people of the quality and style they will be getting with each purchase.
No mobile phone or computer screen can provide that kind of service. It is for this reason that showrooms remain essential in societies, and why physical shops are not really doomed in this digital era.
Sources: news.nike.com, shop.nordstrom.com, clearly.ca
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.