The Future of Retail
The retail landscape has been evolving at an accelerating pace over recent years. Consumers have increasingly favoured online shopping and the convenience that it brings. The resulting closures of stores caused by the lockdowns could well see a significant further acceleration of this change in consumer behaviours.
With the uncertainty around the appeal of brick and mortar stores from a social distancing/safety perspective, a possible increase in the number of people working from home, and concerns about consumer confidence, retailers could be forced to reinvent themselves.
We’ve been pondering this point and would love to get people’s thoughts on the topic. An idea from our side is that retailers and brands look to the experiential retail route while combining this with the convenience of online. So, a customer researches and buys their chosen product online as is commonplace today. However, receiving the product becomes an entirely different experience altogether. A specialist customer experience executive delivers your product safely, to desired timeframes and proceeds to ensure that you are fully educated and comfortable with the product before they leave. In essence, the shop comes to you. There are businesses such as Enjoy Technology who are already driving this model in the Tech sector where hands-on education and installation of products is particularly valuable. But might we start to see this across all sectors? Perhaps someone waits while you try on your new shoes and even has spare pairs in their vehicle in case they don’t fit. Could an online butcher give you a short lesson on how best to cook your Sunday lunch?
Clearly there will be issues of resource, logistics, investment, insurance, scale, and building trust to name a few. But with retail stores facing significant challenges perhaps this is a way for them to remain valuable in these fast-changing times.
We’re not retailers of course and maybe we’ve overlooked the obvious so we’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the topic…