This article was originally published on Forbes
Stores need a reset. But this should not come as a surprise.
Tech advancements challenged the traditional wholesale model. E-commerce exploded. Consumers wanted their orders faster, and companies responded with quicker delivery.
What does this mean for physical retail? A brick-and-mortar makeover.
The e-commerce acceleration does not diminish the significance of physical retail. Increasingly, stores will be leveraged to fulfil more of these orders. In addition, consumers will continue to shop in stores to see, experience and test products.
In fact, stores will remain the largest and most important channel globally in the coming years, based on sales data from Euromonitor International.
Creative store concepts are emerging all over the globe. Retail operators should be questioning the purpose of their outlets and how these can better serve their broader strategy like supporting digital fulfilment or experiential shopping.
In a previous article, I explored three ways retail stores will change in the future. IKEA, DICK’S Sporting Goods and adidas, among other retailers, are bringing those formats to life.
IKEA fosters a sense of community
IKEA is trialling their Home Experience of Tomorrow format in a newly renovated Shanghai outlet.
A theatre-like communal space for shoppers to socialise or relax is a standout feature. This store also connects customers through onsite workshops, knowledge-sharing sessions and entertainment. The Makers Hub, for example, is a space where customers, employees and local experts can share their skills and work on circular projects together.
Source: Ingka Group
Reclusive tendencies are common in the digital era as consumers turn to devices instead of one another. But stores can become a place for collaboration and thereby drive footfall.
DICK’S Sporting Goods builds an experiential playground
DICK’S House of Sport in the US provides customers the opportunity to test products in real-life environments.
This store leverages technology and custom-built features like an outdoor track, a rock-climbing wall and golf simulators, among others, to create an elevated customer experience.
Source: DICK’S Sporting Goods
Consumers need a reason to visit a store rather than shop online. Testing products in an environment where they would be used provides value that goes beyond what the online channel can currently offer.
adidas transforms traditional in-store shopping
adidas’ flagship store in Dubai combines both digital and experiential to inspire creativity and strengthen brand engagement.
This store boasts RFID smart fitting rooms and premium services like MakerLab, which allows customers to personalise products. Shoppers can join exclusive yoga sessions or shoot hoops at an in-store basketball court.
adidas embraces omnichannel in this concept, enabling the brand to connect with customers through several in-store digital touchpoints.
Rethinking the store
In today’s saturated marketplace, your retail strategy must be comprehensive, creative and strategic to reach customers and drive revenue.
The in-store and online shopping experiences cannot be seen as separate entities.
Retailers must optimise store formats and in-store experiences to better weave the physical and digital channels together.