Tag: warby parker

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.

Video: Retail Roundup: Warby Parker, Offline Strategies & Small Ecommerce Businesses

This week we look at Warby Parker and their offline marketing strategies. We discuss ways in which small businesses can implement similar strategies.Audio Only:

Hi and welcome to the Retail Roundup. This is Syama from Scaling Retail.

This week I would like to talk to you about a recent interview given by the CEO, Warby Parker at the NRF’s retail big show. In this interview, it was really fantastic. He was illustrating the different offline opportunities
that they were able to capture last year.

One of them being a mobile salon of eye glasses that they were able to have their customers try on new products and take photos in them and ultimately
build some social campaign and awareness around that. The important element to realize here is all marketing efforts kind of come with a return on investment, if you will.

So when you’re a small business and you’re looking to really get the word out there what you are selling, take a look at all the different channels of opportunities for you to access your customer. If you are e-commerce
only look for other touch points outside of the online world that your customer can be found.

Last year the mobile platform that Warby Parker launched was stationed here in Los Angeles, in Venice. I had an opportunity to give it a check out, try on some glasses, and ultimately what they are able to get from me was my email address. And also a bounce back to their site and this is extremely valuable when you are looking to build your customer acquisition process. How can you make it engaging, fun, and really will have your customers walk away with a really good experience and also this word of mouth that is so, so important.

Of course, following up all types of marketing, innovation, pushing things out to your social media channels, and ultimately being able to take the conversation full circle is really important. Now when you are doing these different channels, looking at your return on investment, and projecting that out can be somewhat challenging. How do you know how much money you need to invest? How do you know what channels are actually worth it?

Well, that can really come through some careful execution and starting to look at best practices across other channels. What we can see and do now is that there is a rising trend of all of these fashion trucks, of course, food trucks but really mobile ways of getting to your customer. So definitely take a look at these different platforms. Find out if there is a way for you to team up some other brands, other retailers, or other designers to collectively get your products shown in different market places.

You will find that it attracts a whole new customer base, you can share your costs in that way and hopefully you will be able get some more customers that are bouncing back to your site. Always make sure there is a call to action and all of your online and offline marketing channels and that your customers know how to find you. Perhaps there is an incentive at 20% discount or something else that you can offer to them to really get them back into your funnel.

Remember if an event sounds like a great idea, all these different types of pop-ups seem like a great idea but without having a great execution and strategy in mind of what you need to get out of it, you might be just wasting your dollars. So please evaluate all the opportunities that you have before going ahead and making a decision to go for it. Alright. Hope you have a great weekend. Talk to you soon. Bye.