How Online Retailers Can Make Physical Locations More Than Vanity Plates
Online retailers slotting a brick-and-mortar expansion into their short-term growth plans may very well be setting a broader standard for the industry's future. Fighting for more consumer dollars puts a premium on customer experience; the more that online retailers can create memorable and high-end experiences through physical store locations, the more likely they are to drive repeat business. Using physical stores as sales centers (not just showrooms) allows associates to introduce consumers to products they may otherwise miss in an online shopping scenario. At the same time, opening smaller stores with less inventory allows for smaller footprints and better optimization of back-end fulfillment capabilities.
What seemed crazy before isn't so crazy anymore. Just the same, these physical store locations can be far more than a vanity plate. They can drive increases in revenue, customer adoption and overall brand experience. As with anything in retail, however, consumers can be fickle, so tread lightly.
Sean Adkins is a managing director and leader of the operations excellence practice at management and technology consulting firm West Monroe Partners.