Innovative instore staging and reinvention mean the in-store experience is still relevant.
There are cataclysmic changes in consumer behavior as online, offline, logistics and data merge. As consumers have shifted to online giants, retailers are panicked and those who re-invent the retail experience will be rewarded.
Throughout the world, innovative retailers are finding ways to engage consumers. Today retailers encourage shoppers to look up the placement of products online as well as nutritional information. Customers can shop online and pick up at the retail location, opt for delivery or buy in-store or at least experience the product in-store.
Stores are not only displaying their wares but also creating a destination. Shopping is still a leisure activity so those retailers who bring in connected fun, community ideas will gain traction. Ideas include ‘classroom retail ’allowing shoppers to watch and learn from their favorite retailers with a priority on wellness. Macy’s is working on creating better in-store experiences that offer Instagram able moments. Apple offers photography and coding classes. It’s shifting from just purchasing items to learning things.
And new types of retail experiences are gaining in popularity. In China BingoBox it’s an unstaffed convenience store launched in 2016. It’s built on wheels so that they can be easily moved to other locations. Shoppers scan items for self-checkout with payment done on mobile using Tencent’s WeChat app. The cost of running the store is a quarter of a traditional store and it’s convenient. It only required 4 people to run 40 stores.
Of course we are all familiar with AmazonGo. While its original launch had issues it now operates without staff. Its run on AI and a series of cameras and deducts money from the customer automatically via their mobile phones. Hyper convenient automated services are not the only trend in retail. Retail as experience is starting to take off.
For online retailers a brick and mortar shop can offer opportunities that online can’t. Take Warby Parker for instance it started as an online retailer but once they began physical stores in Canada and the US they realized they were increasing sales for the simple fact that customers could try on glasses.
Retail shopping is not over it just needs a new vision and mission.