menu

Jordy Leiser: How To Predict The Future Of Physical Retail In The Digital Age

Jordy Leiser: How To Predict The Future Of Physical Retail In The Digital Age
Advertising

Perhaps surprisingly, the majority of shopping still takes place offline and in the store.

Jordy Leiser, StellaService
  • 2 may 2014

The dawn of the Amazon Age has shifted momentum in favor of online shopping. E-commerce is continually picking up speed and reaping market share, solidifying its place as the preferred shopping way of the future. But believe it or not, despite the ease and convenience of a one-click-shop for all your necessities and luxuries, the majority of shopping still takes place offline and in the store. By the end of the 2013 holiday season in-store shopping garnered $265.9 billion compared to only $46.5 billion online – proof positive that physical stores aren’t going to suddenly and completely disappear. In fact, retailers still need to know and interact with their customers on a personal level, making a brick-and-mortar retail strategy a key tool for both traditional retailers and ecommerce-only brands alike.

Maintaining a geographic footprint can be a significant financial burden for retailers, seemingly a crippling cost that that can’t be sustained as ecommerce gains share. However, those big-box stores are proving to be an asset for some companies. Major retailers like Best Buy and Macy’s are taking advantage of their physical presence by turning their hundreds of locations into mini warehouses and fulfillment centers. Compared to online-only retailers who only have a few distribution centers, leveraging physical stores in this way can be a critical strategic advantage.

Since moving to a ship-from-store model in June, for instance, Best Buy has made some pretty impressive improvements when it comes to delivery. By August, a mere two months later, the retailer actually averaged faster than Amazon. At the same time, Macy’s has become the tenth largest Internet company in terms of revenue, and in a recent Buzzfeed article, CEO Terry Lundgren attributes this on a strategic level to the fact that he has 658 distribution centers, compared to Amazon’s 84.

Of course, customers still place a high value on seeing a product before they commit to buy, which is why it’s equally important for retailers to build a great in-store experience. Take the Nike Running store in the Flatiron district in Manhattan, for example. They have treadmills in their windows, not for display purposes, but to let shoppers take the sneakers they’re thinking about buying out for a literal test run. This is something that’s just not possible in the world of ecommerce.

There are also some great new technologies emerging to take the in-store experience one step further. Companies like Hointer embrace the mobile habits of today’s shoppers, and offer solutions for retailers to reinvent the in-store experience by allowing customers to scan items they’d like to try on with their smartphone or tablet, and sending them directly to the dressing room. And in the vain of better knowing your customers, Apple’s iBeacon, which is being tested by the likes of Macy’s and American Eagle Outfitters to name a few, offers mobile tracking technology that enables retailers to offer shoppers targeted and timely deals in-store.

Creating a unique, easy, enjoyable shopping experiences across all channels – digital or physical – is an escalating battle among retailers. For many ecommerce only brands, a brick-and-mortar strategy is helping to bridge the digital divide between its customers. Warby Parker, which is known for its superb customer service, started as an online-only boutique eyewear retailer and now has 6 physical locations across the United States. Kate Spade Saturday took its web-based line of casual clothes to the streets of Manhattan and created digital windows where passersby could purchase anything in the window at an adjacent touchscreen. Bonobos has expanded offline and created the ultimate fitting room equipped with a personal concierge to help you find the right style and size, but allows online purchasing only. These retailers, founded solely on the Internet, have realized how important it is to be physically connected to its customers and have made great strides to get there.

While traditional brick-and-mortar retailers work to leverage their existing geographic footprints, and ecommerce only brands recognize the power of face-to-face customer interactions, it quickly becomes clear that online and in-store shopping are in no way mutually exclusive; this isn’t a zero-sum game. The most successful retailers will be the ones who are able to make the digital and physical work together, elevating the customer experience as a result.

Jordy Leiser is CEO of StellaService, a customer service analytics company that independently monitors and rates the customer service and fulfillment performance of online retailers.

Advertising
Trending

Japanese Face Wash Creates A Perfect Rose Every Time

Arts & Culture
Mobile august 26, 2016

Get A Better Idea Of How You Are Wasting Your Time

The TouchTime app is trying to revolutionize personal task management by providing detailed insight on how to be more efficient

Culture august 26, 2016

London Telephone Box Repurposed As A Tiny Mobile Repair Shop

Tools and supplies to replace broken screens or damage are neatly stowed away in these micro-workrooms

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Work

See All
Design august 26, 2016

Conceptual Sportswear Created Out Of Futuristic Condom Material

A Dutch fashion designer is experimenting with new methods and fabrics to make high performance clothing

Fashion august 26, 2016

Fashionable Tassel Will Ensure You Never Lose Your Valuables Again

The device is fashion meets connected tech, that will help you keep track of your belongings at all times

PURPLELIST EXPERTS

Nico Sell

Privacy, Trust, Communication

Syndicated august 26, 2016

Would You Wear Wool Shoes To Save The Environment?

As demand for wool shoes grows, a number of US footwear brands are heading directly to the source: the sheep pastures of New Zealand

Sustainability august 26, 2016

Self-Healing Material Is Fashioned Out Of Squid Teeth

Penn State researchers have devised a new textile that uses organic proteins

Arts & Culture august 26, 2016

Search Engine Turns Your Own Drawings Into Photos

This image-matching software accepts hand-made sketches instead of keywords

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 23, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs august 25, 2016

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Our Future of Work vision is a service that allows companies to assemble and deliver welcome packets that are uniquely focused on the concept of growth

Arts & Culture august 26, 2016

Illustrator Interprets The Experiences Of Blind Travelers

Artist Alby Letoy creates drawings of poignant travel memories for the visually impaired

Advertising august 26, 2016

Clickbait Titles Used For The Good Of Charity

An agency devised an unlikely campaign that uses clickbait as a positive force to drive awareness to nonprofit initiatives

Advertising august 26, 2016

The Best In Eye-Catching Olympics Campaigns

PSFK rounds out the Rio Games with our picks for the best advertising moments off the field

Work august 26, 2016

Editorial Roundtable: The Arrival Of The People-First Workplace

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary and thinkPARALLAX enumerate the reasons why companies need an employee-embracing workforce in order to exist

Arts & Culture august 26, 2016

Transforming Light Waves Into A New Art Form

An artist uses glass treated with layers of metallic coatings to create a unique installation called lightpaintings

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Design august 26, 2016

This Windbreaker Lets You Explore The Outdoors While Charging Your Phone

The apparel includes solar panels that allow the wearer to stay connected through the power of renewable energy

Asia august 26, 2016

The Goal Of This Game Is To Not Get Laid Off From Your Job

A hit mobile app has you working really, really hard to not get fired as you climb the corporate ladder

Advertising august 26, 2016

Movie Critic Bot Guides Viewers Through Festival Offerings

The Toronto International Film Festival has created a Facebook Messenger chatbot to help attendants curate their schedule

No search results found.