NEW YORK – A movement called “slow shopping” is a fast changing what’s happening at retail. The Wall Street Journal reports that more stores are trying to slow down the shopping experience so consumers will spend more.
While convenience stores focus on speed of service and getting customers in and out quickly, supporters of slow shopping believe that “browsing in a store should be a leisurely and enriching experience that’s not overtly focused on buying something.”
To entice shoppers to spend more time inside the store, boutiques and national chains “are adding libraries, art installations, performance spaces and cozy lounges to encourage shoppers to hang around and enjoy themselves,” writes the Journal, adding, “It is basically an admission that transactions are usually much faster and more conveniently done online and so stores have to offer something else to entice shoppers.”
Many retailers, and not just c-stores, have for years focused on speeding up service by adding self-checkouts, call buttons and merchandising strategies that place popular sellers in a single location. Today, however, the Journal reports that some retailers are rethinking their role and turning floor space into “an interactive marketing space that also happens to sell products.”
Slow shopping doesn’t overstimulate consumers, according to Candace Corlett, president of consultancy WSL Strategic Retail. “The core of slow shopping is to make it interesting and engaging, versus online shopping, which is quick and easy.”
Corlett told the Journal that execution is essential, and stores still need to accommodate shoppers who want speedy service. For example, Lowes Foods in North Carolina offers self-checkout, express lanes, online ordering and delivery for shoppers in a hurry. For the slower shoppers, 29 of the 94 grocery stores “offer options like clipping herbs from an in-store garden, samples at a craft beer bar and a ‘Chicken Kitchen’ that features staff dance performances”—what Lowes CMO Michael Moore compares to “a Disney experience.”
The slow-shopping theory might not take off in a standard c-store format, but it is an interesting and applicable concept for “consumers’ growing preference for experiences,” notes the news source.