The world of retailing is changing and the bricks & mortar ‘only’ strategy is truly under threat. What is required from retailers is a new paradigm based on integrated retailing. That is where physical shops are simply part of the offer to customers – a new mental model that actively pursues online as well as off-line sales environments. An approach that seeks to use technology to enhance shopper experiences, that gives consumers the choice as to where and how they research and consummate their purchases.
Online shopping in Australia is expected to expand its share of the retail market from 2 to 3 percent to 7 to 8 percent – closer to the threshold it already occupies in the U.S. and the U.K. Retailers can either choose to pursue this channel or witness a stagnation or decline in their sales.
But the new paradigm that is needed, extends beyond the simple on or off-line formats debate, to one that integrates technology into the full retail experience. Retailers need to ask themselves, how are they using technology to make pre-purchase research informative and easy. How are they using technology to identify and reward loyal customers, flag special offers, navigate store environments, check product availability, and dare I say it pricing. How are they using technology in-store to engage, inform and delight their customers. How are they using technology to empower their staff to serve their customers better.
Additionally in an integrated retail world, how are retailers with an extensive store footprint converting that to an advantage. How are they leveraging such comprehensive geographic coverage, to better serve their customers, even if they have purchased from them on line.
Finally, in terms of bricks & mortar, we believe the value of flagship stores that truly wow is going to grow. If the economics of delivering experiential mastery to customers at every store is prohibitive, then some real magic must play out at least in fewer well positioned flagship store environments.
Integrated retail is the name of the game – try playing it.
If you’d like some strategic coaching on playing the retail game to win, give us a call