You’ve undoubtedly seen the results from this past Christmas’s quarter. Big retail chains like Walmart, Target and JC Penney’s all reported disappointing sales during a critical season.
We’re enduring the beginnings of a mass extinction in retail due to online shopping: chains are declaring bankruptcy at an alarming rate. Malls are stagnant.
And as an avid shopper, this simply won’t do for me.
Or for the massive retail chains that have existed for decades.
I started to think on the similarities and differences between online shopping and classic retail shopping. Both provide a service or product. Online shopping allows more reviews, certainty of a product being available, and the convenience of staying at home. Retail shopping allows instantaneous gratification of a purchase, an experience, and using the senses to make a decision.
The biggest advantage retail shopping can rely on is an authentic experience. The ability to feel, smell and even sample the product that consumers are considering purchasing cannot be replicated online.
If retailers lean into the experience of shopping, they would have a chance to offer more than a product or service to the consumers, getting a leg up in the tumultuous shopping industry.
Retailers would be able to specialize and brand themselves as shopping avenues with terrific service. Cocktails, daycares, personal shoppers, etc. are just a few of the ways in which stores can give more to the consumer.
Brands are already starting to incorporate this into their IMC. JC Penney launched a new style concept store in Texas with a barbershop, fitness classes, and personal styling in addition to their products (Business Insider.)
Saks Fifth Avenue is offering a cocktail bar for customers to enjoy spirits as they shop (Wall Street Journal.)
It’s true shopping in person is no longer a necessary activity, but it can become an enjoyable experience unlike its online competitor.