We live in a world of digital superstars, and this landscape is making physical storefronts look out of touch. Yet it doesn’t have to be this way – While recent research showed eight-in-ten Americans buy goods online, 70% of Millennials actually prefer brick and mortar retail experiences, according to CBRE.
Let’s Go to the Mall?
Young people engaging with brick and mortar is good news, especially for mall retailers facing an uncertain environment. In 2017, real estate firm Co-Star said nearly one quarter of malls in the US are at risk of losing their anchor store. Moody’s also weighed into the debate, announcing that the number of US retailers on the lowest and distressed tier of its rating spectrum has tripled over the past six years.
There is enough doom and gloom going around, and the smarter retailers are responding by linking online and physical storefronts, powered by the ubiquity of mobile devices. Analytics firm Flurry estimates that consumers spend five hours per day on mobile devices, while the Consumer Technology Association says around two-thirds of consumers use mobile to both shop and search for product information, while 90% have a subscription for coupons, promotions, and special discounts.
When Credit Suisse rated Home Depot and Lowe’s Companies as Outperform in 2017, they said omnichannel strategy was a huge factor, and crucially, because they were leveraging the brick and mortar experience. Credit Suisse also noted that the fastest growing parts of omnichannel were linked to the store, involving multiple touch points.
The key, according to consultancy Green Street Advisors in a recent report, is to focus on a quality consumer experience seamlessly bridging online and offline. “High-quality malls have enjoyed the entirety of asset value appreciation in recent years. Values for high-productivity mall owners have more than doubled since the recession – during the same time that ecommerce spending picked up steam.”
Digital Carpe Diem
The advent of digital tools has excited the likes of Walter Loeb, president, Loeb Associates, who was reported by Forbes as saying: “I think it will be an exciting year where customers will find newness and creativity. The acceptance of omnichannel trade and digital-savvy merchandising is a requirement for success. However, it is not only acceptance of new ideas, but also the need to review old systems and procedures. Store operations and mindsets must change.”
Key to this is offering convenience. It means understanding consumers via data analytics and in-store tracking; offering a range of purchase and pick up options; providing a range of payment services; enhancing in-store service; and embracing technologies such as cutting-edge digital signage, RFID, beacons, self-checkout, AI chatbots and VR catalogues.
A recent McKinsey report asks companies to consider: “What new consumer touchpoints can we offer”?
Companies must meet consumers’ rising expectations for being able to buy what they want, when and how they want it—which means providing a seamless omnichannel experience. They must ensure that consumers have every opportunity to interact with the brand…
Making Retail Fun Again with Bricks and Clicks
Omnichannel success starts when consumers are compelled to embrace retail – part of this involves price point and convenience, but making stores look attractive is another crucial facet. LCD screens are becoming widespread, with higher resolutions, unconventional screen layouts and responsive content.
If 020 is critical to success in today’s consumer environment, digital signage is the critical platform upon which the physical and online merge. Customers want stores to look like their homes, and that means digital signage must effortlessly host YouTube videos, news feeds, and multiple layouts, preferably with a plug-and-play solution that busy retail staff can implement easily.
As Digital Signage Today points out: “Technology is built around people – to streamline workflows, enhance communications, increase engagement and build community”. With smart use of technology, retailers can bridge the divide been online and offline environments and revitalize their brick and mortar operations.
This article featured digital signage as a solution for enterprises of today and tomorrow. Nixplay Signage offers unique B2B solutions for the brick and mortar stores of the future, no matter what size. For more details of sizes, any questions or queries please visit our signage offerings today.