Experiential and immersive retail. Pop up stores. Concept stores.
These are some of the most prominent trends retail is exploring as the industry races to adapt to evolving customer needs. For internationally-recognized labels and emerging digitally-native brands alike, the name of the game is a new in-store experience.
So what does it take to succeed in this brave new world of experiential retail?
We’ll look at a few brands that have successfully navigated this retail evolution, then identify three key ways to modernize your strategy for experiential retail success.
Having conquered nearly 50% of the e-commerce market share, Amazon is now coming for brick and mortar retail. Their consumer data accumulated over 24 years in business is expertly applied to offer a convenient, localized, cashier-free shopping experience at Amazon Go stores—and this is but one of its brick and mortar models.
Arguably the largest athletic footwear retailer in the world, Foot Locker stays ahead of the curve and far from bankruptcy—unlike fellow footwear retailers Payless, Rockport, and Nine West—by staying true to the neighborhoods and consumers who are loyal to the brand. Case in point: Foot Locker is opening its 4th experiential "power store" concept, where customers feel right at home with barbershop, sneaker cleaning, and custom shoe creation services, to name a few perks.
Even the ultimate hybrid of giant footprint retail and experiential shopping is putting the brakes on the cookie-cutter, cram-every-nook approach to its stores. The iconic brand is opening 30 smaller, city-center stores where "customers [have] the opportunity to discover, select, and order IKEA products for delivery to their home.” Say good bye to racing shopping carts in the self-serve furniture area; the first US concept store, Manhattan's Planning Studio, lets you feel, touch, and plan, but not take home; all merchandise is for delivery only.
So how do you compete in this brave new world of innovate or abate?
Let thy customer be thy teacher.
Digitally native brands like Warby Parker (eyeglasses), Bonobos (menswear), and Allbirds (shoes), invested early in learning from, and catering to the wishes of their shoppers. Armed with consumer behavior data, they are successfully expanding their physical presence and consumer engagement.
The 3 services you need today to compete in the retail of tomorrow
Even without a budget like Amazon’s, you can still take action today to stay relevant and competitive in the retail world. Here are the top 3 steps you can take to be ready for success in the future:
1. Re-imagine your layout to better fit customers' shopping habits
Employ AutoCAD services to create highly accurate drawings of the best shopping experience you can provide to your customers. You know their habits and their needs. Leverage this valuable data to keep them coming back, bringing their friends, and truly enjoying their shopping experiences with you.
2. Stay put while you scale
It's not always cost effective or feasible to open a new location. But that doesn't mean you can't offer the best version of your company to your customers.
Engineering consulting services can help you transform your existing space into the store of your shoppers' dreams. We have a team of engineers, operators and technicians to assist in the design, oversight, and validation of engineering and construction projects, no matter how small or large.
3. Do better by the environment and your customers, and you’ll improve cashflow
Today's consumers want sustainable stores with the best products from ethical manufacturers. Deciphering the supply chain for each product on your shelf is a daunting task, but minimizing your carbon footprint with sustainability and energy efficiency projects, while maximizing your cash flow, doesn't have to be.
In fact, sustainability and energy efficiency programs are often the quickest projects to pay back, help reduce overhead, and show consumers you care about more than just profit. Increasingly, consumers are aligning themselves with brands that work to minimize their environmental impact and highlight their sustainability projects.
To successfully implement this step, begin by assessing existing systems, identifying improvements, and providing your stakeholders with the economic analysis to justify taking your store—and your entire value chain—into the new millennium with retro-commissioning services.
Retailers are under enormous pressure to capitalize on the wealth of data at their disposal, and the new trends that promise to redefine their industry. The smartest way to accomplish this is to ensure that every potential investment receives comprehensive and integrated due diligence from an experienced partner, and brings tangible results to the business.
EBI Consulting is poised to help you achieve these goals. Send us a quick message to start the conversation on your vision for the future, and how we can put it into action.