Store of the Future

Why you need to become a store of the future?

Last night I listened to to a really interesting webinar, hosted by PlanetRetail RNG, a consulting firm based on Europe. The webinar confirmed a lot of things we are seeing in our business, so I’d like to share some of the key takeaways.

It’s no secret that online sales are growing and taking share from ‘physical retail’. Online sales are predicted to be 14.6% of total retail sales by 2020, which is 2.1 trillion more than 2016 (Jon Stine, Global Director, Retail, Hospitality, Consumer Goods Sales, Intel).

This aligns closely with the benchmark that we currently use, where we say that 10% of retail transactions are happening online.

But if you flip the numbers around, it highlights the reality that 90% of transactions happen in a physical retail environment.

So how are you preparing to compete and win in the 90%? And how are you leveraging what we’ve learned about digital technology so it can be applied in your physical environment?

Social and technology changes are driving different expectations of customers in the physical environment, particularly from younger shoppers. They are seeking a richer experience in store, enabled by digital technology, but one that complements the experience they are having online with your brand. Typically, the purchase process is a mix of online and offline (physical) experiences, so the physical retail store has an important and complementary role.

For example, most likely your customers are doing research online before entering your store, so they already know all the ‘basics’. When they enter your store or showroom, they want more.

Certainly customers are becoming more demanding, they are empowered with mobile phones and all that they provide access to. They may even know more than your sales staff, and they are likely to have a good knowledge of your competitors and their offerings.

When they enter your store, they want a personalised experience, they want to feel in control (so interactivity and self-service are powerful), they want instant gratification, convenience, flexibility and a ‘frictionless’ experience. And for fashion purchases for example, they want to see how the garment look on them, without trying it on. And in a range of colours, again, without trying it on. So part of the buying process is simulation to narrow the choice, before trying on a final selection. This helps the customer save time – and make a better choice.

The retail challenge today, is how to provide a valuable experience for your customers.

First you need to understand what’s important to them, then, think about how you can design your store as a living, breathing, dynamic ‘3D’ website.

As an example, we recently worked with Suncorp on their Discovery Centre (Pitt St Mall, Sydney) which is a huge departure from the typical bank branch and brings together the elements that PlanetRetail ascribes to the Store of the future. At a strategic level, it is a ‘brand portal’ – an immersive physical environment where customers can learn, socialise, discover solutions and engage with staff who are specifically trained to meet the specific needs of the customer.

For Suncorp, the customer experience and customer journey is enhanced by a range of digital media technology.

If you’d like to read more about Suncorp’s Discovery Centre, click here.