How Retail is Changing and Being Redefined
Brick and mortar isn’t dead, it’s just changing. The stores Generation Z will enter are not the same as what their parents experienced as a kid. Stores have to become more of a source of entertainment or a source of convenience in order to compete with e-commerce retailers like Amazon. Retailers realize they need to give customers something they couldn’t experience with their desktop computers or phones. In addition, retailers have to offer mobility, convenience and be more competitive with pricing.
One of the biggest trends we’re seeing is experiential retail – immersive, interactive, and advanced in terms of technology and design. Just look at how drugstore CVS revamped some of its stores with walk-in and on-demand beauty services thanks to its partnership with Glamsquad. Customers received 30-minute make-up refreshers, blow-outs, dry styling, and skin care services. Another great example is Staples innovative retail concept, Staples Studio, featuring co-working spaces that also focuses on learning. Staples wants their customers to discover, experience, and learn. This concept somewhat mirrors that of We Work which is now a national and global brand thanks to its combination of amenities, partnerships, and office design. And these days, design is one of the key differentiators of a good brick and mortar experience. That’s why Target launched a new look in its beauty department remodeling 400 stores over the past couple of years with plans to do 600 more by the end of 2020. The beauty remodel is an effort to allow better discovery of products and compete with stores like Ulta and Sephora. The open look, function, and feel gives customers a more experiential shopping experience.
And if it’s not about experience, the other thing retailers are learning is shopping needs to be convenient. That’s why click and collect programs seen at Walmart and Home Depot, for example, combine the benefits of online shopping with the instant gratification of getting the product the same day plus an added benefit of easy returns. Retailers are also seeing a lift in sales as a third of customers who come to collect their orders end up buying something else which is a great added bonus.
In summary, customers aren’t shopping the way they used to and the retail marketplace is rapidly evolving. Retailers are realizing more and more there needs to be a holistic shopping experience. Engaging from mobile to online and then into brick and mortar or the other way around. The retailer should no longer be solely e-commerce or solely brick and mortar. It needs to be both in order to adapt to our new world.