Retail has always been a challenging landscape. Today, thanks to technology, it’s evolving at an even quicker pace. Beyond the disruption of e-commerce, there’s so much innovation happening: from voice-activated devices and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions for more personalised customer experiences, to augmented reality (AR) apps. What we’re witnessing now is just the tip of the iceberg, and the incredible growth and evolving technology only implies that what we understood yesterday could be very different the next day.
“For us, the strategy has always been managing the retail experience by challenging what technology cannot offer: the human touch”
For retailers, this means the brick-and-mortar store has become even more important as a brand showcase. We realised this when we first ventured into a physical space and observed how different it was for online customers versus offline ones. While a physical store has restrictions when it comes to products, time and space, it does allow for an immersive brand experience and the chance to create memorable customer moments – be it through an installation, its décor, the curation of merchandise or special themed events – packaged with a level of service. Having a store as well as an online presence opens up the opportunity for the consumer to buy online and pick up in-store (BOPUS), which functions as an avenue for valuable feedback and conversion, online or offline.
At the heart of all these changes is the millennial consumer. Statistics show that millennials currently consist of 33% of the world’s workforce and that number is set to increase over time. It is critical to understand this market force and to allow it to shape the business without compromising the business values. Add in how the internet has changed buying habits and the lower barriers of entry to own any product – be it locally, or overseas – and you’ve got quite the challenge.
Overall, the agility and ability to change with the trends of the market is key. For us, the strategy has always been managing the retail experience by challenging what technology cannot offer: the human touch.
This article was originally published in the July 2018 issue of SilverKris magazine