The Rebirth of
Brick & Mortar Retail
Brick & Mortar retailers take heart! For there are some encouraging signs buried within the doom and gloom about brick & mortar sales versus online sales.
In the Omnichannel age, there is no longer a question that smart retailers need to provide a seamless experience between digital and in-store channels. There is also no longer a question that online sales will continue to eat into brick & mortar sales. But there is a question regarding how long that erosion will last.
Where will the ratio shake out?
“Stabilize you say? Why, don’t you read the trades? It will never stabilize! Brick and mortar is dead! It will stabilize at 100% online and 0% brick & mortar.”
While a lot of the recent news continues to seem to confirm that prognostication, look a little deeper. Look especially at what we’re learning about younger customers.
Let’s specifically look at Millennials and Generation Z. Recent studies indicate that, yes, they are hyper-connected and very mobile. But they also value the experience in-store and, in the case of Generation Z, actually love shopping in stores!
What? Yes, I did say that! These young consumers value the in-store experience and love shopping in stores.
Special, Superior, and Meaningful
So that’s the good news. But, what’s the flip side? Well, if you’re going to captivate these young audiences to cultivate your next generation of customers, you have to provide an experience in your stores. An exemplary experience. It has to be special, superior, meaningful. And you have to stand for something they can believe in.
Now, we’re talking about going beyond the basic block and tackle of excellent customer service. We’re talking about consciously mimicking the ease of shopping found online and making a commitment to hassle-free shopping that shows customers you value their time. We’re talking about purposefully memorable details placed in the shopping experience. And we’re talking about knowing your “Why” so you can share it with your customers, and connect with them on a level deeper than commerce.
Successfully growing in-store sales among your next generation of customers requires a deeper relationship. One that feels respectful, unique and appreciative to the customer. Of course, you have to offer value, variety, and service too.
But today in retail, that is simply the price of entry, not the price of victory.
What are you doing to ensure you have a place in the rebirth of Brick & Mortar retail?
About the Author
Steve Thomas – WMG’s Chief Marketing Officer
Steve Thomas is a 30-year consumer marketing veteran, who specializes in building differentiated brand stories that grow businesses. Thomas was previously Chief Marketing Officer for franchise companies Green Home Solutions and Edible Arrangements International, having helped grow the latter to its current position as a major gift category retailer, with almost 1300 locations worldwide. Thomas brings a unique perspective to WMG, ensuring that we continue to push to “walk the walk” in terms of client effectiveness and innovation in merchandising. Under Thomas’ marketing leadership, the WMG story of placing clients’ success above all else, is being spread across the nation. Follow Steve on Linkedin and Twitter.