It shocks most millennials to find out that only about 10 % of all retail buys are in reality made online. Each semester, when I ask countless undergraduate business students to estimate, they consistently reckon that from a quarter and 50 % of all retail spending happens on the internet. But this When does the store close, as ever in the past, the overwhelming most of purchases will still happen within four physical walls of a store.
This will let the thousands of retailers anchored in strip malls, lifestyle centers and mixed use developments. The National Retail Federation expects holiday retail sales – not counting car, gas and restaurant purchases – in November and December this year to improve as much as 4 percent over a year ago, to as much as US$682 billion.
Stores will require the money to avoid being added to 2017’s record-breaking roster of retail bankruptcies, store closures and layoffs, which included landmark brands like Toys R Us and RadioShack.
Traditional retailers must give consumers top reasons to visit their stores, beyond product selection and good value. Joe Pine and James Gilmore’s 1999 book “The Experience Economy” foretold how savvy companies, like Apple and American Girl, excel by staging compelling experiences that teach, entertain or inspire customers.
The main asset of the physical store in a digital world is human staffing. Even if a shopper doesn’t want help, a smile acknowledging her or his presence encourages connection. Front-line employees can ask customers about their kids, in-laws or Thanksgiving meal planning. That can result in a geniune personal connection whereby employees can locate a shopper’s unique wants and respond with products on the shelves, or ordered and shipped at no cost towards the customer’s home. An Saturday opening hours may become a seamless combination of the online and physical worlds.
Even Walmart, America’s largest retailer, is moving to your more experiential model. Hoping boosting sales, its 4,700 stores will host 20,000 parties with Santa ahead of the New Year. Customers can take pictures, try out toys and acquire tots excited.
The company has an additional advantage over online sellers, too: nine in 10 Americans live within fifteen minutes of a Walmart store. Thousands of Walmarts now let customers drive as much as the storefront to grab online grocery orders within 24 hours they’re purchased, at no additional charge. That rivals Amazon’s Fresh grocery service, which comes at an extra cost and zhoqce doesn’t deliver until the following day.
Beyond face-to-face service, successful companies today must create a deeper connection with their clients, whether online or off. Store-based retailers can display their values in such a way that at times may take on the very personal meaning for shoppers and store owners alike. I actually have been a loyal customer of Gallery Furniture in Houston for many years. Owner Jim McIngvale, known as “Mattress Mack,” is a marketing maverick noted for his decades of zany TV commercials pledging to “Save you money!”
Right after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, he opened his stores to anyone looking for accommodations. Some came by boat, with merely the clothes they were wearing. McIngvale welcomed a large number of Black Friday hours to sleep on his inventory of mattresses. He sheltered, fed and prayed for flood victims. On Halloween, McIngvale flew 50 first responders to Game 6 around the world Series in Los Angeles, giving those lucky Astros fans a once-in-a-lifetime experience and emotional lift inside the wake of natural disaster.