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future outlook for brick and mortar stores

Have your business decisions been myopic and you haven’t figured out the Plan B to adapt to the shifting dynamics of retail?

Are you too late into the game of Brick and Mortar? Who knows what the future could look like for the Brick and Mortar Industry? The best we can do is to help you understand how the most successful businesses have given their retail outlets a makeover to survive from the juggernauts. 

Read this post till the end before making up your mind about the next big business decision.

Are the retailers in trouble?

Yes.
The alarm went off in 2019 when retailers in the United States announced 9,302 store closings, a 59% jump from 2018.

This has even intensified in 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic when there’s a long list of bankruptcies including the likes of J.Crew, JCPenney, Tuesday Morning and others.

Is Retailing in trouble?

Saying that retailing won’t last for long just because retailers are leaving the market would be a misstatement. 
The concept of retailing has been here for long and will continue to stay till the point where there are humans to make purchase decisions, not robots.

Why do the Retailers suffer?

While “Retail Gravitation” and “Wheel of Retailing” theories give an explanation for the happening, most good retailers go bad when they are either unable or unwilling to adapt to the changes in their ecosystem (technology, nontraditional competition, and consumer lifestyles). 

The retail stores which have for long followed a traditional model of low-tech shops and have constrained themselves to the traditional idea of selling need to reposition themselves into the High-tech and Value added services model.

What is the Value Added Services Model ?

Professor Jagdish Sheth`s model of Value Added Services is a key to boost retail sales in the coming future.
The various examples of Value Added Services are:

  • #1 Ordering & Delivery 

Uber , Grubhub and Kroger have grown in the past because they understood that their consumer might not always walk into their stores and often prefers the comfort of sitting on his couch and consuming the products from his favourite brands. 
The ease with which you can deliver your value to your consumer would define your supremacy.

  • #2 Financing & Payment

The consumers do care and show their loyalty towards you if you understand their financial condition and go out-of-the-box to offer them credit options . One such example is that of Room To Go that offers exclusive credit options to consumers at zero-interest rate and this has helped it scale their business and create a unique brand positioning of their own.

  • #3 In-Store Environment

Focussing on the stimuli that drive your consumers into spending more time in your stores is not a big ask. 
Studies have shown that playing the right music in your stores helps increase sales.Platforms like Ambii help you in fixing the ambience of your stores by curating the best playlist for retail stores. The service offers royalty free music for your business.

  •  #4 Robot Assistant

“Automation will change the daily work habits of everyone, from miners to landscapers to commercial bankers, fashion designers, welders and CEOs” . 
This is an excerpt from a McKinsey report on Automation which goes on to predict that  51% of economic activity in USA could be automated by existing technology.

OSHBot (Orchard Supply Hardware), Lowe’s autonomous shopping assistant helps customers to navigate in the stores and choose the best products.

  • #5 Cyber Cafes in Stores

Consumers are fickle. They are known to take a quick glance and then vanish from the retail stores, lickety-split!
To increase the foot traffic, the retail owners can set up gaming corners and provide free internet services to give the consumers a positive experience.

  • #6 Automated Promotions & Discounts

It is the era of all-powerful consumers. These are the times of unprecedented competition, overcapacity, price deflation and uncertainty.
It is one thing to attract a customer and it is other to retain him for future sales. Analysis of consumer purchasing behaviour helps in identifying patterns and setting guidelines for future marketing endeavours.
Running smart loyalty programs is a proven method of boosting retail sales.

  • #7 Virtual Shopping communities

Creating online communities where your consumers get to interact with each other boosts their confidence in your brand and ultimately your bottom line.

Young people may love their digital options, but I’ve found that they also love unique experiences and human connections. They may be happy to buy from local stores, especially if they can tag themselves on social media or treat the opportunity as more than a transaction.

Bobby Marhamat, CEO at Raydiant.
  • #8 Subscription Apps

The only cheat code is to create positive experiences is having a presence online, offline and across all platforms, round the clock without neglecting the value being imparted. 
Having a mobile application helps you in regular communication with your consumers and remain in the competition with the juggernauts.

Is this it?

“It doesn’t stop here. In the future, industry change will be further accelerated with the advent of new technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and blockchain.”

Professor Jagdish Sheth

As the artificial becomes reality and the predictions of retail apocalypse rise, only those brands will survive that are able to differentiate themselves from the herd.
Those who do not transform over and over again will be dead soon.

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