Retail is changing at unprecedented speed. While it’s become clear that brick-and-mortar is here to stay, it’s becoming much more difficult for companies to compete in a saturated omnichannel retail market. According to The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, 92 percent of American’s retail shopping still occurs offline, meaning offline retailers that progress and scale at the pace of the industry position themselves well to pick up new customers and increase revenue.
How do offline retailers compete?
The biggest competitive advantages involve deployment of technologies that are designed to help support business operations and provide better customer data. Other retailers are exploring the use of non-traditional shopping experiences combined with omnichannel strategies. In most cases, forward-thinking retailers that are doing well implement a number of digital tools and strategies to stay ahead of the competition.
Personalized shopping experiences
Brick-and-mortar retailers face new challenges in personalizing their connection to customers, as the digital benefits of shopping online re-define shopper expectations. Now, through IoT-enabled retail innovations and advanced data analytics, retailers can merge the best of online and physical shopping for a highly-tailored shopping experience that delivers a 360-degree view of in-store operations.
Market-specific products and design
Big and small retailers alike are recognizing that winning in the brick-and-mortar space requires local specialization on everything from product offerings to experience design. When it comes to generic products, customers can easily go online. When shopping in the store, they expect to find something that they rarely get to experience online.
That’s why mega retailers like Target and Walmart have opened different store formats for city centers, and brands like Adidas are exploring new and innovative ways to be part of the local community.
These days the number of touchpoints a customer has with a retailer significantly increases the likelihood that they’ll choose to shop at that store. By incorporating IoT, big data analytics and mobile technologies, retailers can now blur the lines between online and offline shopping, and synchronize backend systems for an omnichannel shopping experience.
The future of physical retail
Offline retail is not dead, but it is evolving. The majority of consumers enjoy the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Physical retail may look very different in the next five years, but it will not be gone altogether.
The survival of retailers will depend largely on company leadership, corporate culture and how readily leadership can adapt to new consumer expectations. Companies that are excited about the future of retail and are willing to match that excitement with innovation will prosper.
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