Over the last decade and a bit, nothing has evolved at a pace like retail has. The whole breakthrough of e-commerce literally turned the whole face of retail upside down. The comfort and convenience of shopping online meant that the brick-and-mortar store was quickly losing out on its’ charm. These offline stores have taken a beating and at times, have neared extinction. But the fact remains. Brick-and-Mortar is not dead. And probably, it will never be.
The rise and advent of online shopping and the influx of countless technologies has meant that brick-and-mortar retail is not the same anymore. It has evolved and advanced. Offline retailers have been powered to a position of strength and reckoning. Resorting to omnichannel retailing, using data from customer behavior analytics and enhancing the in-store engagement of customers have guaranteed this empowerment. Let’s see how.
Customer behavior analytics – Not out of bounds for medium and small retailers
Generating data by tracking customer behavior has been a popular choice among brick-and-mortar retailers. It helps them increase conversions by catering to the personalization needs of every customer exclusively. But for long, the technologies required to attain customer data insights have been an expensive affair. As a result, only large retailers could afford to take the financial risks attached.
But all that changed with time. The rise of various tech innovators made these technologies available in large numbers. Not only are the technologies more advanced and better, but also cheaper. Small and medium retailers too have adopted these technologies over the years. For ex- with the help of proximity sensors and cameras installed in-store, retailers have been able to track customer behavior with regards to his location in the store. Customer behavior analytics has allowed retailers to personalize the shopping journey of the customers for quite some time now. It has surely played its’ part in the brick-and-mortar evolution.
Omnichannel Retailing – Over time, more and more retailers have understood the importance
The soaring popularity of online shopping meant that the traditional brick-and-mortar retailers needed to up the ante with their store operations. However, these retailers gradually came to terms with the fact that only catering to the in-store experience of the customers won’t be enough. What customers really wanted was a seamless and similar shopping experience in both online and offline. Moreover, a lot of online-only retailers understood the importance of having a physical presence.
So, it was just a matter of time before brick-and-mortar-only retailers resorted to omnichannel retailing to establish an online presence. This made it easier for them to attend to customers across both channels. It also meant that they had better chances of establishing long-term customer loyalty.
In-store engagement – Enhanced the overall in-store customer experience
One of the aspects about brick-and-mortar retailing that required immediate attention was the kind of experience that the customers were exposed to. Retailers over time have ensured that customers keep coming back to the stores. By implementing state of the art technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, proximity sensors, etc. they have been successful in elevating the overall customer experience to a whole new level. Smart mirrors, electronic shelves, digital screens, and point of sale displays went a long way in enhancing the in-store engagement of customers. What engaged the customers more was the customized recommendations and personalized offers that they received on their cell phones while shopping in-store.
It’s safe to claim that brick-and-mortar retailers have indeed dug themselves out of the hole that they initially found themselves in at the beginning. Brick-and-mortar retail has certainly evolved.