High-Touch Retail: The new role of brick and mortar and consumer behavior

Friday, Oct 9, 2020

Incisiv conducted a survey with 2,500 US shoppers within the high-touch retail segment. The goal was to understand the behaviors of the consumer in today’s retail landscape to create a better understanding of the future of brick and mortar.

Incisiv’s webinar, “The New Store Experience Imperatives in High-Touch Retail” was held last week to create an open conversation with leaders in the industry. These experts discussed the research findings from Incisiv, while also sharing their own outlook for retail in a post-COVID world.  

Most retailers were not prepared when COVID-19 hit, and neither were consumers. The lockdown created a lot of pent-up consumer demand. So much, in fact, that 91% of shoppers said they missed shopping in stores, and “getting out of the house” is one of the top three motivators for future store visits. And, 75% of consumers even tried new brands or places to shops during the pandemic.

When it comes to Buy Online, Pick-Up In-Store (BOPIS) methods, consumers admitted that they were dissatisfied with the experience it provided. This is likely because most retailers weren’t prepared to provide an omnichannel approach, so they had to quickly create something, which left noticeable inconsistencies. Consumers noticed these frictions, however BOPIS methods have continued to grow consistently. This purchasing option will still be a relevant trend, but it’s up to retailers to improve their strategies, and provide an easy and convenient experience for the consumer.

BOPIS doesn’t work for every retailer in the industry, either. For Lamps Plus, a home furnishings and lighting retailer, the buy online method didn’t satisfy their consumers. Being in the home décor sector, consumers like to visit their stores in person, to see and feel the product, said Clark Linstone, Chief Operating Officer at Lamps Plus.

For Lamps Plus, they have decided to focus on enriching the in-store experience for the consumers of their store. If shoppers are taking the risk to go out, they want to exceed their expectations. And this seems to be working for them, because their brick-and-mortar sales are highly comparable to last year, noted Linstone.

Customers have a clear need for what they want, and this has translated into less discovery and more convenience to brick-and-mortar retail. The store role is changing in phases, but it’s up to the retailer to focus on the customer experience and deliver them what they want, said Mohamed Rajani, Director of Corporate Strategy & Transformation at Macy’s. The department store chain has made plans to focus on technology and bring the right tools to consumers in-store. Macy’s has also seen an influx of Gen Z’ers at their stores, which has created a need for sale associates on-site to deliver value and provide them with the latest trends.

Although it seems things won’t be returning to “normal” any time soon, there is still an apparent need for brick and mortar, but with a changing role. The focus has been to create experiences and incorporate technology to bring the in-store experience to the next level. An omnichannel approach is necessary to survive, but at the same time it needs to work as a seamless extension of the brand to enhance the customer experience.

Source: Incisiv Webinar
Photo Credit: Pixabay

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