The Changing Retail Landscape
It’s no surprise that retail is changing. While e-commerce accounts for less than 10% of retail sales in the United States, it is certainly disrupting retail as a whole. For years there has been a rumored idea that brick and mortar may disappear completely, but that is not the case.
The Crossover between Brick and Mortar and Online Retail
Consumers want access to products through multiple channels, which has created a crossover between traditional brick and mortar and e-commerce. Traditional brick and mortar brands are expanding into online retail and strictly e-commerce brands are building out storefronts.
Retail giant, Amazon, has been the pioneer for this. In addition to the purchase of Whole Foods and launch of Amazon Books, Amazon has recently rolled out a concept called Amazon Go in multiple cities. Amazon Go is designed for shoppers to use an app to add products they plan to buy to a digital shopping cart. They are free to roam around the store and walk out without going through a checkout line. Amazon automatically charges your account for the purchases. This concept merges the “feeling” of shopping at a brick and mortar with the convenience of online shopping.
BOPIS – Buy Online, Pick up In-Store
Many retailers have had success with Buy online and pick up in store (BOPIS) services. This service generally comes with incentives like discounts or saving on shipping costs, however retailers benefit tremendously. Shopper spending in-store skyrockets when customers pick up their orders, with almost 37% of online shoppers make additional purchases in-store.
Many grocers including H-E-B and Kroger are following suit by offering online ordering with same day, curbside pickup.
Not all Groundbreaking Ideas Pan Out
Adapting to the changes in retail can be a trial and error process. Mega retailer Walmart recently halted an employee delivery service program, where store employees dropped off online orders at customers’ front doors. While this initiative failed to gain traction, Walmart is testing a limited version of delivery with only groceries and related items. Not to be confused as a failure – simply research.
Less about Changing, More about Evolving
Brands and retailers need to embrace the retail disruption and not only personalize the shopping experience for customers but make shopping quicker and more efficient. Quite the task. Stores have to be more engaging and innovative – there has to be a reason for a shopper to choose going to a brick and mortar over ordering online.
Added conveniences like self-checkout kiosks at a convenience store or in-store services like same day tailoring at a clothing retailer are what brings a customer back time and again.
Brick and mortar retail is not dead. It’s not about changing your brand or coming up with a “breakthrough idea”, it’s about evolving to meet the demand of the 2018 consumer.