Physical Stores are back in the Spotlight

Physical Stores are back in the Spotlight

shop x

In September, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Shop X retail conference.

Having worked on the front line for many years, physical stores are something that I am incredibly enthusiastic about. With society starting to reopen, I wanted to celebrate the positive attributes.

Forrester’s latest research stated that by 2024, 72% of retail will still take place offline. So how can we ensure that the consumer keeps visiting our bricks and mortar stores:

Having been locked down for so long, consumers are now enjoying shopping as a social occasion.

It seems shopping as a leisure activity was well and truly back in fashion; meeting up with friends and family, casually grabbing a coffee. Retailers need to ensure that destination spaces, shopping centres and our high streets are a mix of commerce, community, and culture. At the end of the day, retail is a social occasion. It is human being meeting human being.

Physical stores had to change; the pandemic had proven that. It was time to adapt and change or die away.

We have seen many well known brands collapse and cease trading over the last year. Those that are left, need to stay on top of their game. Innovation is key!

Building a Shop within a Shop? Toys R Us have done it with Macys to drive spend, footfall and to introduce new customers to the brands. Permanent collaborations are fuelling the desire for newness and again is driving a new type of customer into store. Finally, the pop-up shop is becoming the norm.

Most of all, consumers want to be wooed; physical shopping needs to be experiential.

It needs to excite and delight. There is no excuse anymore, every single shopping experience should be sensorial, mega immersive and energetic. Physical stores should be creating theatre, with staff as the actors to excite and delight the paying customers.

In summary, to keep physical stores ‘from dying away’ retailers need to be building lasting relationships with authentic, deep connections to get close to the ideal customer. Brands need to innovate to stay ahead and remain competitive. Most of all, physical stores need to create meaningful in-store interactions to ensure that the customer keeps coming back.

Check out the details here: Shop X Conference 2021

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