Retail Trend #3: Online Stores in Offline Spaces

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, retailers are reporting some of the most significant online sales ever. Consumers being held up at home, many stores shut down temporarily, and with social distancing rules, a lot more people started shopping online for clothes, groceries, and workout gear.

 Experiential_Retail_But the trend is likely to go away once the pandemic is over. After the lockdown period, people will be eager to go outside when it is safe and do in-person shopping. And even with the growth in online shopping, brick-and-mortar shops will still continue to be the first choice for the most significant part of consumers.

It is expected that in 2021 more than 80% of all sales will still happen inside physical stores, and even though e-retail sales will continue to grow, they will account for only 22% of all sales by 2023.

But even so, brick-and-mortar shops need to transform in order to keep their place. The traditional model has been going under transformation even before the pandemic to be able to serve the changing customer demands. Today, the physical store is only one point in the customer journey, and it is not necessarily the point of purchase like it used to be.

Brick-and-mortar shops need to embrace an omnichannel strategy in order to adapt and grow – read on to find out how.

1. Experiential Marketing

Nowadays, the internet is the main way brands connect with consumers, and experiential marketing is the way for brick-and-mortar stores to connect with their clients. Shop owners can host different events, and prize shows to entertain people.

2. Experiential retail

Before, the main purpose of physical stores was to make sales. But with the change in consumer expectations, today’s stores are more experience-driven.

This model blends the physical and the digital to provide a better experience for the customer and make the purchase more likely. For example, many people prefer first to feel, see, and smell the product, before committing to a purchase. Through consultations and private appointments, customers can enjoy an exclusive experience even in times of pandemic.

Customization and personalization will become even more popular and use physical stores to offer extra value and communicate brand values, rather than just showcasing products for sale. Another model that is gaining popularity is pop-up stores appearing at targeted events – a great way to introduce the brand to a new audience.

3. Implementation of omnichannel shopping strategy

Utilizing as many channels as possible is the ultimate way to provide consumers with a better and unified experience across all touchpoints. Use online marketplaces, social media, retargeting ads, and everything else in addition to brick-and-mortar shop visits.  

4. AI increasingly customer-facing across the retail industry

Major retailers have been using advanced analytics for years to better understand what they need to stock and how to make logistics more efficient. But AI-driven big data is moving from back-house to front-house, and customer-facing initiatives such as virtual assistants and chatbots are becoming more and more popular.

Both in-store and e-commerce apps can use AI-powered voice recognition technology to add value. Like we are getting used to using our voices to search the internet or perform certain actions online, we can use the same technology to get information and make purchases and retailers need to adapt to these changing habits.