02 Aug The Battle of Brick & Mortar Retail
Brick & Mortar retail stores are no longer about buying products but trying products. Consumers want experience. Purchasing is only increasing in convenience as online shopping and shipping technology grows, removing the “need” to enter a storefront.
That’s why companies are strategizing how to rethink physical retail to take advantage of consumers’ “wants”. When someone can buy everything online, what they’re left wanting is the concept of experience. Toys ‘R’ Us, or rather its parent company Tru Kids Brands, is testing this theory by opening 2 new stores this year after closing over 800 in 2017.
These locations will be smaller, more flexible with intent to capitalize on allowing consumers the opportunity to experience and interact with the merchandise, and therefore the brand itself. To some capacity, this is how every retailer is going to have to reposition their storefront operation. Storefronts of the future are about fostering a connection between brand and consumer, not just a housing for transactions.
The concept of “experiential” may vary, ranging from personal shopping guides like Bonobos has who seek to offer an individualized fashion experience, to the Museum of Ice Cream that gives the opportunity to buy products but also do things like jump into a pool of sprinkles. Ultimately, a brand needs to take advantage of the opportunity to connect in real life with a consumer by being more than a store. How you make a consumer feel will retain their loyalty. Your brick & mortar needs to be a forefront of direct interaction, not just a storefront.