Stores of the Future: The Changing Face of Retail
As ownership of smartphones and tablets continues to increase across the globe, more and more consumers are turning online to satisfy their shopping needs. With this transition, retailers are seeing a decrease in sales-per-square-foot of retail shopping space. Unfortunately for brick-and-mortar retailers, this trend shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.
This has caused many businesses to consider downsizing their brick-and-mortar retail locations (consider Wal-Mart's smaller Wal-Mart Express and Neighborhood Market concept stores), cutting sales staff and in some cases closing hundreds of stores. The overall impact of mobile devices on retail shopping behavior has many large chains rethinking the way their stores look and operate as well as how they engage consumers. Is there a way brick-and-mortar stores can remain relevant, become more efficient and adapt to the changing shopping environment?
Today's retail store is about to get a facelift. The store of the future will be about the individual and use technology to provide the best experience possible. Retailers no longer need warehouse-style spaces, large sales teams or immense product inventory on-site. These large spaces cost more money and don't yield higher sales. Stores of the future will make better use of their space with reduced staff sizes, smaller merchandise showrooms, and a unique shopping experience grounded in refined customer service and convenience. Customers will be able to easily interact with products, receive personalized assistance and check out — all via mobile devices.
As online merchants like Amazon.com quickly gobble more market share, retailers have to embrace change and react accordingly. Here are three best practices to incorporate into your business:
1. Deliver a higher level of customer service. With today's clienteling apps, in-store staff can provide top-notch service by enabling instant access to product-specific details simply by scanning a product's barcode with a smartphone or tablet. For example, sales associates can determine if other colors or sizes are available in-store, and, if not, they can offer other possible options, creating a more consultative, customized shopping experience that helps to bolster customer satisfaction and drive sales.