Tag: pop up shops

Why Retail Needs Brick-and-Mortar and E-Commerce to Survive

Why Retail Needs Brick-and-Mortar and E-Commerce to Survive

Whether you rely on your own retail shop or wholesale fashion accounts to thrive, it’s time to stop choosing between brick-and-mortar and e-commerce strategies. At the end of the day, it’s all simply retail and shoppers respond best to a healthy mix of the physical and digital worlds.

Alibaba Makes a Case for Merging Physical and Digital Commerce

Alibaba is probably the largest retailer who has tossed the idea of “omnichannel” right out of the window. And they continue to grow at an impressive speed. They started with the purchase of a major retail brand in China in 2015 followed by a recent $2.6 billion purchase of a Chinese mall operator – complete with 29 department stores and 17 shopping malls across various cities.

Their CEO, Daniel Zhang, has made their plans clear: transform physical stores to reach modern shoppers’ standards using their digital cache of resources (improved inventory management, real-time customer insights and data, digital payments, et al.). The plan is to introduce new customers to the offline shops, while strengthening their overall business. Zhang says: “We don’t divide the world into real or virtual economies, only the old and the new”.

And really, shouldn’t that be the accepted idea of retail strategy across the industry? Brick-and-mortar shops hanging on to old business models and old ways of doing business are really feeling the burn. The same goes for digital businesses that don’t consider what actually happens with customers when they shop offline.

E-Commerce Stores are Opening Brick-and-Mortar Businesses

Don’t let headlines about struggling retailers fool you. Brick-and-mortar still works. Just look at the number of e-commerce shops arriving offline. We’re seeing fully operational stores, short and long-term pop-ups and even offline showrooms all over the country. These brands include Bonobos, MM. LaFleur, Reformation, and Warby Parker.

Bonobos’ Guideshops don’t sell any physical products but they’re the hubs to place online orders, confirm fit, receive style advice, and make easy, in-person returns. MM. LaFleur takes advantage of the best aspects of traditional stores but with a contemporary and digital twist. Their showrooms offer pre-pulled, personalized looks, styling sessions, and accompanying glasses of champagne – an excellent way to bridge shopping with experience. Reformation’s concept is more like a hybrid of both worlds with limited quantities of merchandise and digital screens for online shopping in store. As for Warby Parker, they plan to open at least another 25 shops this year!

Touch Is Only Human

As a species, we’re totally wired for physical touch. Touch is linked to our behavior, emotions, and crucial development. There’s a study that’s widely referenced in retail to translate the science. It was published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology in 2014 and it explains how using a touchscreen interface emphasizes the benefits we experience when we get something new. We psychologically perceive that we own whatever we touch! That means we get the benefits of retail therapy – even before we buy!

The great news is the same research has been correlated to touching other physical objects in stores so every brand has the chance to benefit. Since touch is a natural instinct that brings on positive emotions, it’d be totally irrational to move all of our sales online. We have to embrace technology and the physical world to really maximize the potential rewards. And there are really so many possibilities.

Brick-and-mortar isn’t dead. And e-commerce sales are only one slice of the retail pie. We have about 19 hours a day to create valuable, offline engagement so let’s leverage what we’ve learned to ramp up the real-world retail experience.

Innovation has changed everything and at the same time, nothing at all. Technology, marketing, and shopping habits have changed but we still crave a social experience. Our desire to connect as a community is just as powerful as it was in the height of the department store heyday. Shops got their start as places to gossip, socialize, and relax and today’s stores are still great places to congregate. Digital has only expanded the size of this community, taking it to a worldwide scale.

We still need human touch and in-person interaction… physical stores will always be around. The shops that will survive will use digital to stay connected and improve the ways they engage. They’ll use digital to offer additional brand touchpoints and to deepen relationships with their customers through increased “face time” and additional outlets to share their stories.

You have to be where your customers are. Shoppers may not always make the sale offline but that doesn’t mean their in-store experiences won’t lead them to online sales or digital brand advocacy later on. We have to see retail with a much more holistic view.

Be open to change and nimble to react because if there’s one constant in fashion, it’s CHANGE.

Retail Roundup: Best Buy & Showrooming

 

Audio Only:

Hi and welcome to the retail roundup this is Syama Meagher from Scaling Retail. This week we took a look at show-rooming in particular Best Buy.

This holiday season Best Buy launched a wonderful commercial featuring Will Arnet and really putting up forward and front that they are suffering from show-rooming. They turned it into a light and witty commercial but it stills never fails to address that show-rooming is a big issue. Best Buy launched last year a $45 billion campaign, really geared towards getting customers back into their stores and back to shopping with them. This renew Blue campaign, appropriately named, is really game at getting back to seeing the benefits of what it is to shop in the store.

Now, you may think that larger retailers are the only ones to suffer from this, however small stores and boutiques in particular also suffer from
show-rooming as well. There are five strategies and things that we can do as boutique owners and retail store owners to really help cultivate the customer and prevent show-rooming.

Number one, customer engagement. Customer engagement in store and online. Of course, you may not have a fully functioning e-commerce page but you probably have a newsletter or you have a splash page or you have a way to be able to have your customers find you online. What’s really important
about this is being able to close it full circle. So you want to have your customer come in the store, have a very engaging, relaxing, whatever your
brand ethos is, whatever environment you look to create for your customer, be able to have that for him or her, have wonderful dialogue, show them
their products and services, do what you do best which is working on your customer. Then you also want to have a customer acquisition process to
bring them on to your newsletter. This way they can stay in touch with you, you can let them know if product launches, you can also keep them posted of other events and in store things that you have going on.

Number two, product exclusivity. So obviously, being a small line, a small brand, you may not necessarily have the opportunities to buy total
exclusive lines from certain designers or vendors , however you might be able to do some pre-releases and pre-launches. You’d be surprised how many
vendors are willing to work with the small guys in terms of being able to boost the business for both of you. Also, larger vendors very often will be
able to give you some pre-release colors, pre-release styles before they go ahead and launch them out to the larger guys. So, having those relationships with your vendors are going to be very important when creating a great product assortment that’s both innovative and fresh for the customers.

Number three, in-store events. Hopefully this past holiday season you had some great holiday parties. Hopefully those generated for you some great
foot traffic which you then converted into news letter signups. And at the very least you were able to serve your customers some great cocktails and
have them buy a couple items and really cultivate that relationship. There’s nothing like a little cocktail party to get customers to start shopping. There are very easy ways that we can do that. Some of them include going to Trader Joe’s and getting a couple of bottles of wine. Other things you can do if you’re a little bit larger, if you have a larger customer base, is partnering up with Absolut Vodka or Hennessey or even an alcohol company that can help you with sponsoring events.

Number four, going to your customer. So this would include pop-up shops as well as your off-site events. There’s something that’s really
great about being able to take your product to your customer, which is that you become an expert in them even more, you’re going directly to them. Maybe you find a new customer that you didn’t even know you had before but being able to take your products outside of your store, it’s a big advantage for you as a small business. Staying nimble, staying agile and being able to really become an expert in who you’re catering to. So, take a look at popup shops and retail spaces that you can rent. Thestorefront.com is a great place to find those resources and then also in terms of off-site events. You know, take a look at what happened the year before and what events can you now participate in this year.

And lastly, packaging and the details. There’s a lot to be said for having great packaging and being able to service your clients with something
that’s beautiful, something that really speaks to your brand ethos whether that’s clean and consistent, black and whites or whether it’s more luxurious, that you have ribbons and there’s some gold trim and the tissue paper is colored. You know, really figure out what is your branding and how do you take that into your packaging. Those colors, those patterns, those fields will also translate well into your online presence as well, but remember Amazon has terrible packaging and that is one area that you can definitely beat them on.

Alright. Hopefully that was helpful. Talk to you soon. Bye.