Today’s digitally-savvy consumers demand a modern in-store customer experience. Something that leads to what they love about shopping online compared to brick-and-mortar stores. That’s the real context of digital retail; With technology simplifying access to the best and most relevant product details with which consumers can make more informed in-store decisions tailored to their budgets, tastes, and health preferences.
Also, brands are looking for new opportunities to market their products at the point of sale. Historically, brands have had limited visibility into their in-store advertising and merchandising effectiveness. They also had a limited impact on consumers in the “last mile” before they make any purchase. Digital retail can be an opportunity to amplify that impact and measure consumer response to media purchases in real-time.
Retailers must re-imagine the in-store consumer experience to meet the needs of both consumers and brands while protecting consumer privacy. The last generations of digital retail and big tech companies have captured personal data and linked it to the customers to deliver new insights and drive sales. But new standards and expectations are emerging for the next generation of advertising. In this context, digital retail has to think differently, designing brand protection and consumer privacy into all aspects of any technology and operating model used.
The outlook of brick and mortar retailers about the current state of retail trends is alarming; What passes for online coupons for the service and promotions for “Going Mobile.” If you’re a C-level executive, owner, or manager, you’re bound to hear that retail has “radically changed” since the recession. It is but not how you might receive it.
So I researched this manifesto detailing the great dangers that exist for brick and mortar retail with how to fix them. Below is the setup for a special report detailing essential retail trends.
Have you ever watched a film like War of the Roses or American Beauty? Did you notice that the main characters have been together for a long time but don’t really talk? Do you know that elderly couple who reject others’ feelings? Are young couples ready for divorce?
All of these have one thing in common. One partner is numb to the other one, caused by years of neglect, and they feel abandoned and powerless. Crying for someone to notice, they turned inward or turned to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain.
I think that’s what we’ve done with customers in brick-and-mortar retail stores. Whether it’s a big-box or independent specialty retailer, we destroy the in-store relationship by hiring employees who really have no interest in helping the customer or business. We’ve let them flourish as long as they can stack the goods and keep the store organized.
We have collectively let customers find frustration, anger, and frustration where they once found fun, joy, and fulfillment.
We didn’t know how angry he was. Unless…
They didn’t just go out and buy until the recession hit. But as soon as it ended and customers began to venture out, like a lover hoping that their partner would change, they found things worse or worse than ever. Feeling even more lonely, he decided to go home and shop online to get over and use all the resources he had in a brick-and-mortar store.
Some brick-and-mortar customers installed apps on their smartphones so they could scan an item while in-store and have it shipped to their home, robbing the bricks-and-mortar merchant of payment.
Some brick-and-mortar retailers struggle to attract customers. So they have taken on online coupon companies like Groupon or LivingSocial, thinking it’s all about the “deal.”
But it has deepened the problem as customers believe they have always paid too much and are eventually getting the “deals” they deserve from years of poor service.
It is not too late for you to transform as an industry. But it has to be a battle for the customers’ attention, respect, focus, and trust. It will adopt creative ways to hire, train, schedule, and reward employees. That’ll take the relationship seriously.
If we can’t fix this troubling retail trend, divorce will suffer because we’ll have taught the customer the answers, the personality, and the fun of shopping in their own hands.
Nothing could be further from the truth.