The year 2020 has been a journey none of us could have ever anticipated. The current pandemic has brought on plenty of twists and turns, which has caused our industry to become innovative to stay ahead of the game.
Many brick-and-mortar retailers have found creative ways to break new ground to stay relevant and top-of-mind during these times. One of the key ways has been incorporating technology to reinvent retail. By adopting an omnichannel approach, retailers were able to continue to sell their products when the shutdown was at its peak. This wouldn’t have been the case 15 or 20 years ago. If technology didn’t exist, companies would not have been able to redefine their business strategy to adopt these new methods.
Before all of this, adapting technology to brick-and-mortar retail was something that not all companies took the leap to do. But now, it has become a necessary tactic to survive during these trying times. Buy online, pick-up in-store methods have been quickly adopted by the whole industry. Millennials and Gen Z’s have been happy to test the validity of technological developments in retail, which has definitely added to the ease of shopping.
Our phones have become the newest fashion statement, says Mark Cohen, Director of Retail Studies at Columbia Business School in a recent interview with Forbes. With advancements in technology, we now have all of the power right in the palm of our hands. Our phones have become the latest fashion trend, and many millennials care more about recent technology than what they are wearing.
This is why it is crucial to incorporate tech into brick and mortar. Just take a look at Nike’s recent efforts — the brand is using their own app to navigate consumers through their stores and give product recommendations. The retailer plans to open dozens of new stores that use this digitally-connected concept. It’s the best of both worlds – getting the in-store experience while allowing the consumer to have all of the power in their hands.
The cosmetic industry has recently sprouted emerging brands that also indicates a push for success in brick and mortar. Glosslab has reported they plan to open seven locations in the next 18 months. Ever/Body has also recently opened its first store, with a second location in the works. This has been a common theme among young beauty brands, they are either partnering with huge beauty retailers like Sephora and Ulta to sell their products, or they are opening up their own stores.
In today’s retail landscape, consumers are looking for something new and fresh. By incorporating technology or new trends that give consumers the feeling of a “treasure hunt” experience while they’re shopping — this will keep them returning.
There is clear growth in the industry both with emerging brands and technological advancements. With this, retailers are redefining the current landscape to better accommodate customer behaviors and new shopping dynamics past 2020.