Why Experience Still Matters with Melissa Gonzalez

April 22, 2021



Our special guest, Melissa Gonzalez, joins the podcast to discuss how retailers should rethink their environments and in-store experiences to animate the shopping journey. What should the modern store look like? How should retailers measure the success of omnichannel initiatives such as buy online pick-up in-store? How is the role of the store changing and how can retailers leverage pop-ups to connect with their customers?

  • We ask these questions and more of our special guest, Melissa Gonzalez, founder, and CEO of the Lionesque Group and MG2 Company, an organization that focuses on building human connection in physical spaces as it has produced over 150 brick & mortar experiences across the United States. Melissa joins the podcast to discuss how retailers should rethink their environments and in-store experiences to animate the shopping journey. 

Conversation Rundown

[ 02:07-03:26 ] How technologies are enabling the modern store experiences?
The pandemic has really accelerated tech in-store. Contactless payments & self-checkouts have become staples. In some ways, it was good that retailers were pushed towards this adoption. They've been dragging their feet for too long. Now it's time to take a deep look at how to re-design the in-store technology and leverage technology to eliminate friction.

[ 17:30-18:38 ] What do customers expect from BOPIS?
Well, we're all customers, so we can all answer that question. For me, and for most, it's all about a seamless and easy experience. I want to know when my product will be available and I want to be able to pick up and go. Seems easy enough, but there is a lot going on in the back-end to make that experience possible. Clear and timely communication as well as inventory handling are two major logistical challenges in BOPIS fulfillment.

[ 19:11-21:08 ] What does the store of the future look like?
Melissa believes that the store of the future is going to be highly modular. That's very different from what we have today. All stores more or less look the same, and they look that way all year. We don't want to strip away the human element of it. But I see a deeper integration of the capabilities that you see in a digital platform being integrated into the store. And then that better positioning the store associate to provide a different level of value-add to my experience.

[ 22:37-23:35 ] Maintaining the human element of physical shopping
Retail tech will play an incredibly important role in physical shopping moving forward. But the role of technology is not to eliminate the human element of shopping. If you just wanted to tap on a screen, you could indeed do that at home. Great tech is all about enhancing the in-person experience and eliminating processes that take away from that experience. So, it's about the merging of the two and having it be a symbiotic relationship that really unlocks the true value add of each channel, right! And bringing it to the in-store environment.

[ 24:05-27:10 ] Why are Pop-ups effective for a retailer?
Melissa is a big believer in pop-ups. It's a great way to create an in-person experience in locations where a full-time store is not viable. It's also a great way to test the grounds before investing in a brick-and-mortar location. There's a lot of hesitation right now when it comes to signing a long-term lease. Pop-ups can provide that testing ground that retailers desperately want.

Meet the Experts

Continually pushing the boundaries of experiential retail, Melissa Gonzalez is an award-winning innovator, seasoned visionary, and brand storyteller. She is the CEO of The Lion’esque Group: an MG2 company, pioneering the integration of physical environments and cutting-edge technologies to help companies such as Purple, Nordstrom, and Burrow foster foundational consumer engagement and evolve their offering.

A passionate mentor and strategist, Melissa works hand-in-hand with clients to understand their greatest aspirations. She leads creative teams to deliver authentic solutions from concept to completion, helping clients achieve their ultimate vision.

Retail Tips & Tweetables

The changing behaviours with customers due to covid19 has truly accelerated the use of contactless payments, checkout experience and flexible fulfillment.

See the opportunity from the point of fulfillment to the point of discovery, as BOPIS and Curbside are ways to connect to the customer.

We need to take a deeper look at how to really design to make the moments of gratification that would otherwise just be transactional.

You can't strip away all of the human elements of the physical retail experience.

Pop-up stores helps in getting the sense of market when you are doing new product launches.

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