Image Credit: Official GDC on Flickr
In order to be successful in today’s world, every business needs to become more interactive.
When writing a business plan for a brick-and-mortar establishment, most entrepreneurs focus on profitability and work backward. They want to create a product or service that’s valuable to consumers. Then they seek to build an operation capable of supporting the circulation of those products or services.
This is a reasonable approach. However, with the threat of online businesses, today’s entrepreneurs need something more. Consumers could feasibly get anything you offer online for less money or with more convenience (in most cases).
One of the best solutions to this problem is to offer some level of interactivity. That is, give your customers an experience they can engage with. So how is this solution so effective? And how can you bring it to your existing business (or business idea)?
Why Interactivity Is Important
Let’s look at some of the key reasons interactivity can mitigate the threat of an online competitor and ultimately drive more foot traffic to your establishment:
Online Interactivity Is Limited
Online stores can only do so much to give customers an interactive experience, since they’re limited by a screen. Interactive content marketing is growing to fill this void. However, it still can’t beat a hands-on interactive experience.
Interactive Experiences Distinguish You
If you offer a more interactive experience when your competitors don’t, you’ll instantly become the preferred choice.
Interactive Experiences Are Memorable
When a customer engages with a brand, they’ll remember the experience more clearly. What’s more, that memory will encourage them to become a repeat visitor. Or they will tell their friends and family about the experience. Ideally, they will do both.
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Key Examples of Interactive Businesses
Now, let’s look at examples of some businesses that have already taken the next step toward being more interactive.
Take, for example, Spyscape in New York City. This is an interactive museum that blends information and entertainment with hands-on exhibits and demonstrations. Most museums are passive experiences. However, this one encourages visitors to engage with the material they’re witnessing.
In the retail clothing space, customers have always been able to try on clothes in fitting rooms. This is its own kind of interactive experience.
However, Ralph Lauren has recently taken this experience to the next level. The brand has introduced touch-screen mirrors in their fitting rooms. These special mirrors help customers visualize themselves with alternative styles or colors.
Tech retailers are also getting in on the action. For example, Samsung has recently opened Samsung 837. This is Samsung’s flagship store built around interactive customer experiences.
It isn’t a place where you can buy products. Instead, it’s a place for you to engage with the brand. There’s a DJ and interactive digital screens with impressive apps to show off their functionality. There’s even a smart kitchen to explore.
How to Transform Your Business to Become More Interactive
Now, let’s focus on practical takeaways. What can you do to make your business more interactive?
Invest in Tech
We’ll start with the most expensive strategies and work our way toward more affordable ones.
Your first option is to invest in more high-tech installations throughout your business. This might be augmented reality (AR) apps that help customers make purchasing decisions. Or it could be digital screens that help them navigate the store. Bridging the gap between online and offline shopping is going to be the future of retail.
Make Each Customer Experience Unique
Add enough interactive features, and enough variability within those features, that every customer’s experience is unique. For example, you could offer dozens of different possibilities in your product selection app. Or you might offer your customers one of a dozen different seating options.
Add Character to Your Building
Make the exterior and interior of your building stand out as unique. To do this, add extra colors, installations, or structural features that play into your brand image. This will provide a more immersive, characteristic experience, especially if those installations lend themselves to interactivity.
Train Your Staff to Engage with Your Customers
This is a change any business can make. What’s more, it can transform the way customers perceive your brand and their experiences with it.
Train your staff to truly engage with your customers. Make sure each customer has a pleasant, unique, and memorable experience at your location. Often, all it takes is a sincere conversation and a few moments of personal interaction to make the difference.
Incorporate Interactivity into Your Current Business Model
You don’t have to radically change your business model to incorporate elements of interactivity into your business. Any interactive features you add have the potential to change how your business is received by your customers.
Make the effort to add these layers of engagement. Becoming more interactive can guard you against online threats. Plus, it will help your business to win a greater share of customer loyalty at the same time.