It’s very apparent that the world of retail is undergoing some extreme construction, especially as consumer habits and expectations become more sophisticated. Because expectations are shifting and customers are looking for more modernized shopping experiences, we’re seeing a decline in brick-and-mortar shops. Even huge retailers like Macy’s and Sears have to shutter several stores in 2017 due to the overwhelming increase in online shopping.
In an increasingly mobilized world, it’s a shock to no one that mobile and online shopping are beginning to dominate retail. But in a recent article on Retail TouchPoints, Adam Blair points out that there are distinct advantages brick-and-mortar shops posses that online retailers are only now beginning to harness. Nothing beats the accuracy of immediate, direct feedback from customers in a store, insights to which online retailers don’t always have access. But now, online retail goliaths like Amazon and Warby Parker are taking the invaluable data-driven insights they have and applying them to the brick-and-mortar model by opening physical shops.
The same logic could be applied to brick-and-mortar stores considering implementing more technology into their store’s shopping experience, making it easier to surprise and delight customers in person. At the end of the day, shopping comes down to the experience and that arguably rings truer for those opting for in-store shopping. By being able to utilize that real-time feedback from customers along with the advantage of immediate gratification that many shoppers seek, brick-and-mortar establishments could potentially concoct the perfect shopping experience after applying the technological edge that online retailers already flaunt.
Hybridizing the in-store shopping experience with elements like mobile check-out, curbside pickup and data-driven item curation will surely breathe new life into more traditional retail models. These approaches show customers that retailers acknowledge issues like time restraints and the desire for extreme personalization and, in turn, build brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.
It’s easy to say that online shopping is overtaking more traditional approaches to retail, but it’s also foolish. In-store retailers are merely changing how they play the game. Retailers that are educated and receptive to new technologies created solely to improve the customer experience are likely to be successful among today’s shoppers. The secret is to leverage the strengths of both online and in-store retail and create an entirely new way to shop.