It’s evident the retail experience has changed extensively in the last couple of decades. From the introduction of the internet and digital conglomerates providing two-day shipping, to direct-to-consumer businesses that bring quality, affordable products directly to your door, the retail industry has never been so profitable.
While we’ve seen some tried-and-true brands—including Toys “R” Us, Sears and David’s Bridal—shutter their doors in the last few years, the death of brick and mortar is just a myth. According to the 2017 U.S. Census, 90 percent of retail purchases in the U.S. still happen in brick-and-mortar stores, with projections keeping this number at 82.5 percent as late as 2021. Offline purchases still take the majority of the multi-trillion-dollar retail industry, making it an important and profitable aspect of the retail vertical for you to leverage.
So how is retail evolving, even with ecommerce growing and long-standing brick-and-mortar brands closing down? There are a couple of key trends taking place that make brick and mortar stores extremely valuable to your retail business.
The Power of “Offline” Data
Location and point-of-sale (POS) data, which feeds online shopping data and marketing strategies, makes brick and mortar a very attractive opportunity for growth. Physical shopping locations are goldmines of consumer behavior data, allowing you to better attract and communicate with your target audience. By diving into the how, why and when of the shopping experience, you can better plan your store’s social media and digital ad strategies, as well as gauge the impact of promotions and purchase incentives with your target customers.
Additionally, online retailers that leverage brick and mortar locations can collect customer preferences, ultimately to improve e-commerce personalization.
Elevating the In-Store Experience
Online retailers are stepping out from behind the screen to create unique and oddly personal in-store experiences for their customers – that sometimes don’t even relate to the product or service they’re selling. Take Away, for example—an online suitcase retailer delivering first-class luggage at a coach-class price. They opened brick-and-mortar stores around the U.S., but don’t use them to sell suitcases. Instead, they host concerts and yoga classes – an unexpected, yet extremely intriguing tactic for getting to know customers on a personal level. For Away, their main target was the travel-friendly millennial market – and according to research, the millennial shopper doesn’t want to be sold just a product, they want to share in experiences with the brand and build a relationship. When a brand can fulfill that need, the millennial shopper is more likely to purchase the product and become a brand advocate. By creating these in-store experiences, Away was better able to understand their target, cater to their desires, and complete more sales.
What’s more, Casper, the direct-to-consumer mattress company, has established physical locations in order to educate customers on their full-range of sleep products and how they can give them better quality sleep.
These in-store experiences aren’t designed to sell products – they’re designed to sell the brand, be useful and exciting, and grow closer to customers, which can ultimately lead to more profitable sales.
Applying offline data from brick and mortar locations, as well as online insights can help you better understand your customers and how you can create a more meaningful relationship with them. Need help getting started? Leverage Tech Data’s dedicated teams and resources, spanning Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics to mobility and client devices. Learn more by visiting us online at https://www.techdata.com/
About the Author
Jess Holy is a copywriter for Tech Data’s award-winning in-house advertising agency. In her role, she edits and develops content for Tech Data’s vast portfolio of vendors, as well as our valued customers. Dedicated to her craft, Jess weaves her love of writing—and the occasional pun—into all of her work.