Retail news headlines have been a mixed-bag for brick-and-mortar during the first quarter. From cutting back headcount to closing store locations, big names and small businesses alike are fighting to stay relevant. The casual observer would jump to an obvious conclusion: online shopping is killing in-store traffic. However, experienced marketing analysts point to a different shift in today’s customer.
Jessica Hendrix, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi X, recently spoke to how the online shopping experience is directly impacting what shoppers now expect in stores. One isn’t necessarily killing the other; online is pushing in-store to change.
Stores Stepping Up Efficiency
Hendrix begins by looking at what’s happening in the market, then shows what’s happening in the mind of the shopper.
“We always hear about how online is killing retail,” she explains. “Considering an estimated 10,000 retail spaces will close their doors this year, that’s easy to believe. But the truth is, online is simply forcing retail to evolve around two forces: efficiency and experience.
“Efficiency, enabled by things like one-click and voice-ordering, shines with frequently-shopped categories. Shoppers want to get what they want the fastest and most affordable way.”
Beyond the Item and to the Experience
The brick-and-mortar stores do have an advantage over the ease of online shopping: experience. Hendrix goes on to demonstrate how powerful this quality is across all demographics.
“Experience is a different story,” she continues. “Simply exchanging money for items isn’t enough. Shoppers need to be hands-on in the process. They want to feel their produce and physically get to know a car seat that could save their newborn’s life.
“Retailers are responding to this need with rich retailtainment experiences and knowledgeable influencers. This is why about 14,000 stores are expected to open this year.”
Keeping Marketing In Step with Change
Marketing experts like Saatchi & Saatchi X look beyond surface trends to prepare businesses for the changing customer needs. Hendrix concludes with good news for brick-and-mortar, and a side of sound advice:
“Retail isn’t dead; it’s just changing. You need to know how to properly execute against the journey your shoppers take.”