Despite the massive rise of online retail in recent times, Brick-and-Mortar have somehow managed to hold its’ own. With the worst phase gone, things are now again looking bright for offline retail. An in-flux of advanced levels of technology in-store along with the growing relevance of omnichannel retailing has meant that the focus is well and truly back on brick-and-mortar stores once again.
The Need to invest in Physical Retail
Retailers are starting to realize that customers still value the offline stores despite of resorting to online shopping time and again. Immediate gratification and the desire of touching and feeling a product before purchase still looms large in their minds and 85% of shoppers validate this fact. The advancement of technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, etc. have meant that the modern day offline stores are way smarter than what they used to be. The in-store experience that stores provide or aim to provide soon is certainly something that customers want to be a part of. Sure, online retail has its’ perks, but brick-and-mortar is slowly but surely coming to the fore once again.
Besides, one of the biggest reasons for offline retail gaining more traction is the rising demand for an omnichannel experience. Retailers understand that customers are no longer loyal to any one channel. As per data from IDC, consumers that shop both online and in-store have 30% higher lifetime value. Hence, it’s important to resort to omnichannel retailing. A seamless integration between online and offline is what is needed. Bringing the online experience to offline is significant in delivering a successful omnichannel experience to the customers. This is directing more focus on Brick-and-Mortar.
Online Giants resorting to Pop Up Stores
The need for omnichannel retailing has made sure that online retail giants resort to brick-and-mortar stores. Providing an enhanced in-store experience to customers is the key and for that reason, pop up stores seems to be quite popular among the online players looking to establish a physical presence. Quite a few instances can be provided. Not so long ago, Amazon opened its’ first bookstore and they followed it up by innumerable pop up stores. Google too launched the ‘made by Google’ pop up store that attracted a lot of praise and attention. Other online retailers like Warby Parker, Bonobox, etc. too have understood the importance of a physical presence and are adopting similar measures.
Innovation is imperative to drive the in-store experience of customers
It’s certainly not enough to just merely have a physical presence. Offline retailers should keep in mind that online retail has flourished just because of the enhanced levels of convenience and personalization that the customers were subject to. In offline stores, the in-store engagement of shoppers is of prime significance. Just allotting a handful of staff on the floor for assistance or relying on the available technology might not always be enough to get customers engaged. This is where innovation has a role to play and it extends way beyond just merely selling goods. Let’s have a look at a few modern-day examples.
The very renowned Ministry of Supply offers a dedicated area or co-working space for customers in-store. Further, customers are entitled to internet, printers, beer, etc. at their behest.
Fendi, in its’ pop up store in Tokyo delighted a lot of its’ customers by carving a floral display out of a three-wheeled Italian scooter placed at the storefront. Luxurious bags and flower arrangements captured the attention of the shoppers and added to their overall in-store experience.
- How about a store within a store? Nordstrom converted the center of its stores into pop up stores or spaces to provide something unique to the shoppers. One instance can be taken of the Converse Pop in section which engaged a lot of shoppers as they could get their converse shoes painted by graffiti artists.