Reinventing Retail Experiences
From new payment types to variable store footprints, to guided self-service the changing landscape of how and where goods are stored and sold is going through a massive transformation. Data analytics tools like predictive modelling, traffic patterning and ‘always on’ digital technology is making it possible for consumers to interact with retailers in new ways.
The dawn of the Amazon Age has shifted momentum in favor of online shopping. E-commerce is continually picking up speed and reaping market share, solidifying its place as the preferred shopping way of the future. But believe it or not, despite the ease and convenience of a one-click-shop for all your necessities and luxuries, the majority of shopping still takes place offline and in the store. While many have said that the Internet is rendering traditional retail obsolete, brick-and-mortar stores still give retailers the best space to establish long-term connections with customers. Market research and end of year sales figures show that the majority of consumers visit a store before they purchase a product, even if they ultimately buy it online.
By the end of the 2013 holiday season in-store shopping garnered $265.9 billion compared to only $46.5 billion online — proof positive that physical stores aren’t going to suddenly and completely disappear. In fact, retailers still need to know and interact with their customers on a personal level, making a brick-and-mortar retail strategy a key tool for both traditional retailers and ecommerce-only brands alike.
The physical space is the new post digital interface
The entire world is a shopping platform. Retailers can no longer see digital and physical store as 2 different business models or even a different department in their organization. The digital and physical world has converged and the difference between winners and losers — are the companies and brands that are bringing digital behaviors into the physical world. This has had a domino effect on the entire industry. Digital behaviors in connected physical spaces are triggering Malls, Retailers and Municipalities to rethink their commercial spaces. Nomadic devices like mobile, connected cars, wearable tech and social platforms are increasingly playing a role in the following three trends:
- Anywhere Purchase Platforms — leverage emerging tools to allow shoppers to quickly discover and buy products anywhere they encounter them.
- Shop Ahead — provide digital services that allow customers to plan out and optimize every store visit before they go.
- One-Click Transactions — streamline the checkout process with services that automatically recognize shoppers and their preferred payment method
The Rise of the “brand enthusiasts.”
Social media has turned everyone into a critic, and, oddly enough many have come to depend on your opinions about movies, tv shows and every day consumer packaged goods like soap. In a recent survey, Stanford B-school found that almost eight out of 10 people trust peer reviews over any other source of information. So that has lead many to rethink the role of humans inside stores. Instead of hiring an army of salespeople or spending billions of dollars to mold your current staff into perfect product experts that millennial customers don’t trust or listen to, I recommend that you use your social listening tools to find your next hires — Hire the informed brand enthusiasts. These are people who genuinely care about the your brand and use their passion to push your products. Arming them with a pay model for in store help will transform the way you hire and attract people into your stores. I encourage you to walk into any Apple store and try to find a “sales person”. You won’t find one. However you will find patient brand enthusiast armed with tech that makes every transaction personal and efficient.
The physical experience is written in code
Every shop owner can transform their retail footprint into a research and development engines that are constantly adapting to the unmet needs of your shoppers. Imagine using the connected retail space as a programmatic media engine. Envision a connected mall that enables makers of products to tell their stories on new instore editorial platforms.
Or Invent a new marketplace using the power of simulation, the influence of data intuition and design to create bespoke products delivered in real-time. All of this is not just art of the possible in some far off future. Today, it is art of the doable for any mall owner, municipality or retailer that is looking to be the market disruptor with a reinvented business and new revenue streams.