Everyday Essentials for Click & Mortar
Today’s brands understand that having a digital strategy is essential for scalability. As a result, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are building mobile and e-commerce capabilities into their strategies at an impressive speed.
On the other end of the spectrum are the many retail start-ups emerging as digital first enterprises. And in today’s ever-changing climate, the most successful brands are taking advantage of both physical and digital channels.
Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods furthered this notion, eliminating the perceived divide between physical and digital retail. The news underscored the need for other retailers to adopt the same mindset, to offer a seamless and holistic experience so that consumers can naturally take advantage of a converged retail model. In fact, a recent study by Harvard Business Review found that the majority of today’s consumers (73%) use multiple channels in their journey to make a purchase.
Executing this new retailing reality means embracing digital transformation while revitalizing the relevance of the physical store. Successful brands can better guarantee customer loyalty and ongoing revenue models. To do so, they need to define what they're trying to achieve through a digitally optimized storefront and seek to provide value. Top brands are achieving this through a number of different avenues including reducing barriers to purchase, offering more personalized touchpoints, and enhancing buyer knowledge.
Reduce Barriers to Purchase: Shoe retailer Aldo is a great example of merging online and offline efforts. The company has a robust mobile application with insight into customer reviews, geo-location technology to find nearby stores and their hours, technology to help shoppers determine their best size, and simplified checkout options. By removing any complications from the buying process, shoppers are more likely to move forward with a purchase.
More Personalized Touchpoints: Home improvement chain Lowe’s has incorporated augmented reality into its brick and mortar execution. Lowe’s Vision brings spatial perception to the smartphone, acting as a “digital power tool” for shoppers embarking on a home improvement project. The technology enables the user to measure spaces and visualize how products like appliances and home decor will look in their home. As a result, shoppers feel empowered with the context and personalization necessary to make high-cost purchase decisions.
Enhance Buyer Knowledge: Beauty chain Ulta is another example of a company that leverages extensive shopper knowledge to better serve them and enhance touch points. Arming sales associates with holistic shopper data and purchase histories enables them to provide high-quality consultations and recommendations based on known preferences. Ulta's salespeople also are equipped with the capability to enroll shoppers in loyalty programs on the show floor to improve and simplify the guest experience while encouraging them to return in the future.
As consumer goods companies identify innovation strategies for their brands, it’s important for them to consider how both digital and physical retail can impact the shopper experience. Consumers are no longer willing to accept one or the other; rather, they demand an all-encompassing experience that provides them with convenience and deep product knowledge. Brands that are able to merge online and offline into high-quality “Click and Mortar” consumer experiences will be the winners.