In the early days of online retailing, the phrase “brick and mortar” came to mean a retail store with a physical building, as opposed e-commerce stores.
Brick and mortar stores continue to play very important roles in brand building for luxury sector, but how will they keep their luster in a saturated omnichannel world?
Worldwide, monobrand stores represent 27% of luxury market, it is starting to decrease in 2016 compared to 2015, while the online represents 8% of total market, but is growing fast. Brands must be aware of the digital wave’s impact on store productivity and do something to get customers out of the sofa.
I. Evolution over the years of in-store experience
- In-store experience has undergone many changes since the 1800s and as bricks-and-mortar retail evolved, so have consumer behavior and expectations.
- Today, with omnichannel developement, the role of sales associate, long seen as a pillar of in-store eperience, has been enhanced by digital tools.
Based on retail’s history, the research team of Mood Media, who conducted the survey, uncovered four key lessons that can be drawn from the past:
- Emotion is a core vector of customer experience – retailers succeeded in revolutionizing the consumer journey by incorporating sensorial elements to the in-store setting.
- In the future, retailers will be able to measure and analyze emotional data to better serve consumers.
- Retail will become a practice of pleasure and experience rather than a static point of sale.
- Stores will become a living environment rooted in discovery, inspiration and socialization, all of which is bolstered further by modern technology.
II. History of bricks-and-mortar experience
“To get the consumer off the sofa and into the store requires that the store become a much more emotionally rich experience rather than a functional experience.” said Scott Moore, global senior vice president of marketing of Mood Media.
- In the 19th century, the rise of department stores allowed consumers to experience products first hand through touch, and shoppers were no longer reliant on sales associates to find out prices due to the addition of price tags to goods placed throughout the store.
- Although invented by IBM in 1972, touchscreen technology was not placed in a retail store until the early 2000s.
- The rise of the Internet and mobile shopping paths evolved further between 2000 and 2010. Due to new ways of shopping, customer experience became a core focus as did growing and maintaining client loyalty
- In the last decade, trade and e-commerce borders have blurred and cross-channel strategies that balance on and offline purchasing have become needed and expected. Retailers now communicate directly to consumers via social media, and artificial intelligence is slowly being introduced online and in-stores.
- Payment at the checkout might be permanently buried; in-app payments, Amazon Go and digital tickets have already demonstrated that this movement has started.
- Stores will become more and more interactive theaters for exceptional experiences, also thanks to the rise of mixed reality.
The days of the bricks-and-mortar store are not likely to be lost to history because even if orders are delivered by drones or 3D printed at home, that experience will never replicate an in-store experience where all sense are solicited.
The importance of optimal in-store experiences is is very important in higher end luxury stores. Customers aren’t just buying a product – they’re buying into the brand, the story behind the brand and the shopping experience itself – from start to finish.