Retail now, and in the past has always been a very fast-paced, and “cut-throat” industry. It has narrow sales margins driven by sales volume and shopper frequency. What has changed about retails new economy is the number of options available to us as consumers. For brands to remain on top they must ensure their products, prices, and shopper experiences are superior to their competitors. That’s where you come in! As a shopper, you can share your thoughts and feelings about brands (that you love or hate) with in-store foot traffic, the swipe of your finger, or the click of your mouse.
Something you may find surprising is that, as we mentioned in an earlier blog post “What Can In-Store Shopping do for you?” the in-store experience is irreplaceable. Even with the rise of online shopping, 88 percent of sales are still coming from brick and mortar stores. What we can learn from this is that in-store shopping is a key cornerstone of retails economy.
The Importance of the Experience
Now that we know brick and mortar stores aren’t going anywhere, you may be wondering: what is retails new economy? The biggest change is the emphasis on experiences. The Adidas and Sonos flagship stores in New York City, for example, have created spaces where you are able to experience their products first hand like never before. The Adidas store has dressing rooms that look more like locker rooms, bleachers to watch any games that are on, tracks where you can test the products, etc. They have built an entire experience within their store. This experiential design is the key to bringing you into stores. From this we can assume that creating an experience, from the music to the look of a store, is paramount to retails economy.
Non-flagship stores are able to create engaging experiences as well. They may not all have a track in the middle of their store, but the way they place their products, the friendliness of the staff, the smell of the store, and the music (choices and volume level) are all important parts of creating an experience for you. Online retailer giants, like Amazon, are even getting a foot in the door with in-store experiences.
In my opinion, I think that creating an in-store experience has made me more excited to go to brick and mortar stores. We, as a society, prefer to spend money on experiences instead of things. Brands have found a way to incorporate both of those into one. But what else has changed?
What else has Changed?
Stores aren’t just used to make purchases anymore. If you make an online purchase but decide you don’t like the product once it arrives, you can go to the brick and mortar store and return the product. You don’t need to worry about return shipping labels, costs, hoping the package arrives at the location, etc… What do stores benefit from this? You’re engaging with the brand and you’re entering the experience they have crafted for you. Maybe while you make your return you’ll find a new product you like more, or you’ll find something you didn’t see online, maybe you’ll just return the product. In all three situations you have engaged with their brand and hopefully had a positive experience.
As times continue to change retails economy surely will continue to change as well. There are infinite possibilities for how shopping may progress and why it will do so. We, as consumers, get to sit back, relax, and enjoy all that is to come from our favorite brands in the future.
For more information, check out this video from our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1uvHLw0mFA.