The Essential Guide To In-Location Experience Management

It’s harder than ever to get customers into your physical locations.

Whether that location is a bank, restaurant, retail store, or a fitness center — any organization with physical locations is feeling major pressure today. 

They need to drive more revenue from every customer that steps inside, leverage their physical presence to increase customer lifetime value, and overall, justify the value of these locations so they can be kept open. 

To do this, forward thinking organizations are placing their bets on the importance of the in-location experience because they understand that good customer experiences can be a key competitive advantage. But they struggle with the complexity of consistently delivering incredible customer experiences.

Enter in-location experience management, a growing discipline that marketing and operations professionals are adding to their lists of must-have skills to survive and thrive in the future. The discipline focuses on delivering memorable, engaging, and high impact experiences in an organization’s physical locations.

What is in-location experience management exactly? How do you get the most out of it? And what value can it bring to your organization?

In this guide, we’ll answer all those questions and more. At the end of this guide, you’ll know exactly how to plan, create, and deliver in-location experiences at scale. 

  • #1
    Chapter 1

    In-Location Experience Management 101

  • #2
    Chapter 2

    Framework For Measuring the Impact of In-Location Experiences

  • #3
    Chapter 3

    In-Location Experiences Objectives and Key Results

  • #4
    Chapter 4

    11 Types of In-Location Experiences to Deliver

  • #5
    Chapter 5

    Challenges of Delivering In-Location Experiences

  • #6
    Chapter 6

    A Step by Step Process to Delivering In-Location Experiences

Chapter 1: What is In-Location Experience Management and Why Does it Matter?

In-location Experience Management is defined as the discipline of creating, managing, and scaling the experiences you deliver to customers who visit your physical locations. 

The experiences are often delivered through live events, immersive environments, or through interactive screens — including displays, TVs, tablets, and kiosks that an offline customer interacts with in a physical location. 

These experiences typically include any combination of the following: 

  • Visual — images and videos customers see displayed
  • Touch — interactions with physical products, touch-screens, etc. 
  • Sound — music, information, etc. they hear

As consumer trends continue to shift, mastering the skill of in-location experience management will become increasingly important for organizations looking to get the most out of their physical spaces.

The Importance of In-Location Experiences in the COVID Era

Change was already well under way as customers shifted to buying more online but the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated that change far faster than anyone could have ever anticipated, bringing many organizations to their knees. 

Despite the grim numbers about physical location closures and the uncertain future we face as the world braces for another potential lockdown, there is one thing that remains certain in the long term: there will always be customers out there who prefer visiting physical locations. 

Our first annual State of Consumer Behavior 2020 report found that 54% of consumers preferred to shop in-person over online. This was conducted in January of 2020, just a few months prior to the pandemic beginning but it demonstrated what we believe to be true — there will always be consumers who want to shop in person. For them, shopping isn’t just about buying goods, it’s an experience, something to do, and something to keep them busy. 

In our second annual report, the State of Consumer Behavior 2021 report, it showed that despite all the change the pandemic has brought, many consumers still crave that same in-location experience over online shopping with 48% saying that they preferred it. 

For a brand to survive and thrive in the modern era, experiences are not a nice to have — they are a must. Our findings highlighted the impact that experiences can have — both good and bad.

The Impact of In-Location of Delivering Experiences

Data from our State of Consumer Behavior 2021 Report

90% of consumers say they are more likely to return again if they have a positive in-location customer experience.

61% of consumers say they are likely to spend more at a location if they have a positive in-location customer experience.

65% of consumers say they are likely to spend more online with a brand if they have a positive in-location customer experience.

53% of consumers say they are “very likely” to tell someone else about a positive in-location customer experience.

Chapter 2: How Do You Measure Success With In-Location Experience Management?

The majority of organization’s today already understand that good customer experiences can be a key competitive advantage but consistently delivering incredible customer experiences — both offline and online can be expensive, time consuming, and complex. Especially when it comes to scaling those experiences. 

In order to justify the investment and resources required to deliver in-location experiences, they must be built with ROI in mind.

In this section we’ll cover how you should think about the impact in-location experiences can have on your organization’s objectives. 

A Proven Framework for Measuring Success 

The end outcome of a great customer experience should be to influence customer behaviors, which in turn moves the needle on your organization’s objectives. 

After working with over 2500 organizations to plan, deliver, and scale in-location experiences, we’ve developed a proven framework that can be applied to each and every experience you create. 

Here’s what that looks like in action: 

(Company name) will offer an (experience) to customers because we believe it will lead to (behavioral change). By influencing the customers’ behavior, we believe it will lead to (objectives). To measure our success, we will track (key results).

  • A Specific and Clearly Designed Customer Experience

  • Leads to a Behavioral Change

  • That impacts your Target Objective

  • Self-checkout experience at your restaurant

  • Customers get their food faster with less employee contact

  • Your overhead costs go down and customer satisfaction goes up

Here’s what the framework would look like filled out:

Hamburger Central will offer a self-checkout experience to customers because we believe it will lead to customers getting their food faster and will be less dependent on our employees. By influencing customers behavior, we believe it will lead to decreased overhead costs and higher customer satisfaction. To measure our success, we will track total in-location revenue divided by # of employees and customer time spent in the restaurant.

As you plan out the experiences you will deliver — each one should follow this framework so can ensure that what you are doing is in full alignment with what you are looking to achieve and know exactly what you will measure so you can test different ideas and optimize for the highest impact.

In the next chapter, we’ll dive into the different objectives your experiences can help you achieve and the different metrics you can measure to track your progress.

Chapter 3: How Do In-Location Experiences Impact Your Organization?

The best way to think about the benefits that experiences can bring to your organization is to plan them around objectives and key results. The objectives are the high-level goal you are trying to achieve and the key results are the numbers you will track as you go to see what’s working and what’s not.

Here are the most common objectives and key results most organizations use for their in-location experience strategy planning.

Objective 1: Increase In-Location Revenue

Key results to measure:

  • Customer spend per location visit 
  • Customer conversion (% that purchase after entering)
  • Cost per acquisition (new customers acquired through physical locations)

Objective 2: Promote New Products, Services, and Offers

Key results to measure:

  • Total number of sales/revenue generated from a specific offer, product or service (ex. QR code only shown on screens in physical locations)

Objective 3: Deliver a More Streamlined Customer Journey

Key results to measure:

  • Average time spent to get customers through the door (from entrance to checkout) 

Objective 4: Decrease staff costs

Key results to measure:

  • In-location revenue divided by the number of workers on-site

Objective 5: Align online and offline marketing efforts

Key results to measure:

  • Average lifetime value of customers (combining online and offline customer spend)

Objective 6: Promote brand values and core messaging

Key results to measure:

  • Customer NPS

With the framework clear on how to think about the impact of in-location experience management, now let’s take a look at the different types of experiences you can deliver to your customers.

Chapter 4: What Types of In-Location Experiences Can You Deliver?

Experiences are something that are unique to each and every brand but based on our research, conversations, and what we’ve seen from our work with 2500+ companies, experiences can typically be broken up into the following 9 groups:

Self-Service Experiences 

Whether they are waiting in line or sitting in a waiting room, modern customers are impatient. Research shows that 86% of customers will leave if lines are too long. By leveraging self-service solutions, you can streamline key parts of the customer journey that help them get what they need faster and most importantly, without consuming your staff’s valuable time.

To serve the modern customer, provide a self-service experience that’s digital, fast, and easy. It will reduce your staff cost and make your customers happier — win, win! 

Example: Ford’s Interactive Self-Service Kiosks speed up the customer check-in process at their service centers.

Self-Service Experiences 

Click-and-Collect Experiences 

As both shipping fees and delivery times have increased this year, more and more consumers are turning to options that let them order online and pick up in-location. Research shows that 48% of surveyed shoppers used BOPIS to counter shipping fees and X% said they’ve not ordered from a brand because they did not offer a click-and-collect experience. 

Give your customers a way to purchase your products faster and cheaper than they get online.

Example: Apple offers customers a seamless way to pick up items ordered online — simply from scanning a QR code.

Click-and-Collect Experiences 

Immersive Experiences 

If customers want to simply buy something — there’s a good chance that they will just buy online.  What many modern consumers do want however is an experience that’s memorable, unique, and fun. If you follow the money — 52% of millenials spending budget goes towards experience-related purchases. 

Give your customers an immersive experience they will share across their social media channels, tell all their friends about, and never forget.

Example: Canada Goose engages customers with “cold rooms” that let them put their jackets to the test.

Immersive Experiences 

Brand Building Experiences 

Modern consumers want to do business with brands who care and have a bigger mission than to just make money. Physical space is expensive but it also gives you an amazing platform to broadcast key messages to offline customers. 

Remind your customers what you stand for, tell the story behind your brand, and reinforce your core values.

Example: Louisville Bike Share displays Black Lives Matter messages at physical stations 

Brand Building Experiences 

Revenue-Focused Experiences

It’s hard getting customers into physical locations but once they are there, you have a captive audience that you can market to directly. Unlike immersive experiences where it’s all about customer engagement, these types of experiences are all about driving in-location revenue through targeted and personalized offers. 

Increase the value of each customer that steps inside by pushing deals, offers, and upsells directly to them. Use QR codes to measure the effectiveness.

Example: Walmart delivers personalized in-store ads based on weather data to optimize store-level merchandising and hyper-local digital advertising.

Revenue-Focused Experiences

Informational Experiences 

The modern consumer expects offline experiences to meet their expectations from the digital world. They don’t want to have their time wasted, they simply want to know what information they need to know so they can be on their way. 

Make sure your offline customers know everything they need to know when they step foot inside your location and deliver that information in a format they are familiar with.

Example: Mall of America’s interactive screens streamline wayfinding and make it easier for visitors to find their way to the 500+ stores on their property.

Informational Experiences 

Personalized Virtual Support Experiences 

The role of in-location associates has evolved. Modern consumers don’t want to feel the pressure of a salesperson circling them, instead, they are looking for someone who offers a consultative sales experience. In the era of COVID, having that type of one to one support can be hard. But it is possible to provide this support virtually with one to one video support, regardless of where your agents are located.

Engage your customers one on one just like you would if you were face to face.

Example: Gucci launches virtual shopping service, allowing customers to communicate with staff through video chat.

Personalized Virtual Support Experiences 

Robo-Location Experiences 

Modern consumers still value the ability to visit a business in-person but that doesn’t mean they need to be greeted by a swarm of employees when they do. 

Give your customers the physical experience they crave while keeping your overhead costs low.

Example: Since 2017 Bank of America has been experimenting with “robo branches”. These unmanned branches have no greeters and no tellers  — just machines and screens in place so that a customer can easily speak with a rep via video if they need some extra support.

Robo-Location Experiences 

Checkout Experiences

It’s hard enough to get customers to part with money these days but by offering a streamlined checkout process with self-service kiosks, tablets, and on-table displays, you can make it as frictionless as possible. 

Make it as easy as possible for your customers to spend money with you.

Example: Home Depot offers customers an innovative way to checkout and purchase in-store items. 

Checkout Experiences

There are of course many more types of experiences you can create but these should give you an idea of what’s possible. 

Chapter 5: What Are the Challenges of Delivering In-Location Experiences?

Through our work with organizations across all industries — we’ve pulled together the top challenges we see them face when it comes to creating, managing, and scaling their in-location experiences.

Challenge #1: Managing at scale

If you are delivering experiences to one location, this isn’t a problem you have to deal with but for most organizations — scalability is their #1 concern. How do you ensure that the messaging of your experience is on-brand but also personalized for each location? How do you streamline managing these experiences in order to avoid this taking up time from individual locations? These are the types of questions we often see. 

For example, one of our clients is a bank who partnered with us to help manage the experiences on 10,000 different screens with branches in all 50 states. They were struggling with developing a strategy and workflow that would enable them to oversee the messaging on their screens from one centralized location as opposed to making it the responsibility of each individual branch to manage their own messaging. 

Through Raydiant’s experience platform, they were able to solve this problem. Now, all their screens nationwide are managed through one operating system overseen by one team who delivers consistent yet personalized messaging to each and every location.

Tips for overcoming this challenge: Centralize the management of your experiences in order to make delivering experiences more consistent, personalized, and streamlined. 

Challenge #2: Fragmented solutions

Many organizations are faced with the daunting challenge of trying to piece  together different hardware, software, and platforms in order to build and manage their in-location experience strategy. 

The problem here is that none of these systems are designed to “talk to each other” and this often results in systems breaking down and human hours being wasted on manual tasks. 

For example, one of our customers is a major brick and mortar retailer with over 900 locations across the US. When we started working with them, they were using over 17 different hardware and software tools. This fragmented experience management stack caused massive headaches, wasted staff time, and made delivering consistent experiences at scale incredible difficult.

Using Raydiant hardware and Raydiant’s experience platform, they were able to solve this problem. Now, all of their screens are powered by our all-in-one hardware software solution which empowered them to create and deliver more experiences.

Tips for overcoming this challenge: Reduce the amount of solutions you use from different providers in order to make it easier to manage and scale your experiences.

Challenge #3: Inconsistent Connectivity

Connectivity is a constant headache for any organization managing experiences on screens in their physical locations. While WiFi is the go-to for many, the reality is, having a strong stable WiFi connection isn’t always available for many locations in more rural and remote areas.

For example, one of our customers has hotels across the US — including in the midwest. Their hotels there struggled with unstable WiFi which resulted in the messages on their TVs and self-check in kiosks to constantly go down. 

Using Raydiant LTE enabled hardware, they were able to solve this problem and ensure that the experiences they wanted displayed across their screens and the functionality of their virtual patient check in kiosks were online at all times. 

If you’re using the Internet or local VPN to stream your content, you may run into issues with your ISP, who often limit the amount of bandwidth each customer can use.

Tips for overcoming this challenge: Look for hardware solutions that are LTE enabled in order to boost your uptime and deliver a more consistent experience. 

Challenge #4: Network security vulnerabilities

Many don’t think about security until an incident happens but in today’s modern world — where news travels fast and hackers aggressively target organizations of all sizes, network security is a major concern that should be addressed. 

For an example of the types of risks brands face, look no further than what happened to ASIC’s back in 2019. In the middle of the night, hackers found their way into their system and broadcast an experience that no brand would ever want displayed across their screens: porn.

The graphic videos ran for nine hours until staff arrived for work the next morning. The story was featured across international media and the brand was forced to issue an embarrassing apology.

Network security vulnerabilities

Tips for overcoming this challenge: Before you begin using a hardware or software vendor, discuss in detail the security protocols behind their system.

Chapter 6: A Step by Step Guide to Creating High-Impact In-Location Experiences

The following is our proven step by step formula that you can follow to create and deliver your own high impact in-location experiences.

Proven 4 Step Formula For Delivering High-Impact In-Location Experiences

  • Step 1: Outline the in-location experience you want to create

  • Step 2: Identify the customer behavior change the experience will create

  • Step 3: Determine the target objectives and key results of the experience

  • Step 4: Deploy your experience then measure, improve and scale

Step 1: Outline the in-location experience you want to create

The first step is to get clarity on the experience you will create. Here you want to keep in mind that the goal of each experience should be to alter customer behavior and directly impact your objectives and key results.

Here are the 8 groups of experiences you can choose from:

  • Self-Service Experiences 
  • Click-and-Collect Experiences 
  • Immersive Experiences 
  • Brand Building Experiences 
  • Revenue-Focused Experiences 
  • Personalized Virtual Support Experiences 
  • Informational Experiences 
  • Self-Service Experiences 

Step 2: Identify the customer behavior change the experience will create

Get clarity on the types of behavior change you are hoping to see as a direct result of the in-location experience you deliver.

Types of behavioral change:

  • Increase use of self-service options
  • Spend more money in-location
  • Purchase exclusive offers and upsells
  • Develop stronger customer loyalty 
  • What other behavioral changes?

Step 3: Determine the target objectives

Next, outline the core objectives that you will aim to impact as a result of the experience you create.

  • Objective 1:

    Increase In-location Revenue

    • 1: Customer spend per location visit
    • 2: Customer conversion (% that purchase after entering)
    • 3: Cost per acquisition (new customers acquired through physical locations)
  • Objective 2:

    Promote New Products, Services, and offers

    • 1: Total number of sales/revenue generated from a specific offer, product or service (ex. QR code only shown on screens in physical locations)
  • Objective 3:

    Deliver a More Streamlined Customer Journey

    • 1: Average time spent to get customers through the door (from entrance to checkout)
  • Objective 4:

    Decrease staff costs

    • 1: In-location revenue divided by the number of workers on-site
  • Objective 5:

    Align online and offline marketing efforts

    • 1: Average lifetime value of customers (combining online and offline customer spend)
  • Objective 6:

    Support brand values

    • 1: Average customer spend within 30 days of visiting your physical locations
    • 2: Customer NPS

Step 4:  Identify the key results of the experience

Then for each objective, identify the most important metrics that you will measure in order to track progress.

Step 5: Deploy and deliver the experience at scale

Roll the experience out in a controlled way then measure the key results tied to each objective that you identified. Once you’ve tested the experience, you are ready to roll it out at scale.

Getting the Most From In-Location Experiences 

The discipline of in-location experience management is growing yet there’s not a lot of information about the best practices you can follow to set your experience up for success. 

Based on our work with over 2500 organizations, here are the 5 best practices we recommend keeping in mind as you go.

  • Best Practice #1: Align your experiences with target behavioral changes, objectives, and key results

  • Best Practice #2: Personalize each interaction with customers as much as possible but always aim to balance privacy and with personalization.

  • Best Practice #3: Leverage technology to automate the little things so your workforce can focus on the big things

  • Best Practice #4: Engage your employees so they feel empowered to engage customers

  • Best Practice #5: Remove the Friction - Make it easier for your customers to spend money with you

How Raydiant’s In-Location Experience Management Platform Can Help  

Our in-location experience platform is designed to help you create, manage, and scale customized offline experiences that ensure you are getting the most out of your physical space. 

Access the Experience Platform through our Interactive Kiosk Tablets or by simply plugging our ScreenRay hardware into any of your existing TVs or displays.

From there, you can connect your screens via Wifi, ethernet, or through our LTE-enabled ScreenRay (For the locations where stable internet is hard to come by).   

Once connected, you have full access to the Experience Platform’s endless possibilities.

Ready to Take Your In-Location Experience to the Next Level? 

Let us help you increase the ROI of each and every customer that enters your store

Book a demo now or try Raydiant risk-free today.


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