The NRF (National Retail Federation) 2015 Retail’s BIG Show took place the second week of January in New York City, and welcomed approximately 33,000 attendees from some of the nation’s largest retailers. The event featured some of retail’s most innovative leaders, who spoke on some of the most buzzed about topics in the industry. We have highlighted what we think are some of the show’s most valuable takeaways for brick-and-mortar retailers.
Brick-and-Mortar Stores are Very Much Alive
In a keynote titled "Brick is the New Black", the panel spoke about the opportunity for retailers to reinvent brick-and-mortar stores and reposition them as the center of the Customer Experience. Brick-and-mortar represented 94% of all retail sales in 2014. Though shoppers are making more online purchases, they actually spend 6 times more when shopping in a physical store than online. The retail store offers shoppers a sensory experience you can't get online. They urged retailers to think about the experience behind the brand and reminded them that technology is just a tool to drive the experience.
How can stores respond to today’s shopper (read Millennial), who is socially connected and expects an in-store experience that is as personal as their online experience? Retailers must focus on maximizing the productivity of the in-store experience; while attempting to create a more seamless experience for the shopper; which is the essence of the omni-channnel phenom.
An Omni-Channel Approach is Unavoidable
The new path to purchase is much more than the shopper arriving at the store and making a purchase. It now involves consumers getting information and feedback from peers on social media, researching products on their smart phones, reading reviews and talking to others. 75% of consumers reported that information that they have received on social media has had an impact on their shopping behavior, and has even influenced their loyalty to a brand.
Over the last 20 years, large retailers were forced to build customer experiences to meet the needs of the online consumer via eCommerce and social networking sites. And now Sales Associates are expected to be equipped with mobile phones to give shoppers access to inventory and product information on a mobile device. 69% of consumers expect Sales Associates to have mobile devices to provide these customer service tasks while they are in store.
Retailers Must Continue to Be Innovative
The challenge of retail innovation continued to be a theme throughout the Big Show There was an abundance of technology designed to engage the shopper and provide a customized shopping xperience; while providing retailers with real time data regarding customer behavior and preference. This data can be used to increase sales per square foot by introducing new products based on preferences and building brand loyalty. Innovations at retail should continue to be a high priority for a brand’s objective.
In the presentation "The New Digital Divide" , GameStop President, Tony Bartel shared how Game Stop has achieved success in using technology to create a highly relevant and personal shopping experience for their Millennial shoppers. They are collaborating with 20 technology partners to bring “technology to life” in stores by arming sales associates with tablets to enhance customer service, using beacon technology to send offers and messages to shoppers when they enter the store, using augmented reality to show customers video games in action, incorporating interactive hub spots where shoppers can learn more about games and products and a social media portal where customers can access information, see game launches and even follow store associates.
Kyle Gallary, Cole Haan’s VP of Corporate Strategy and Digital Commerce noted that in order to “ innovate in an omni-channel world, retailers need to get rid of the constraints of thinking by channel, but also must test and learn concepts.”
In one of our more popular KDM Blog articles, titled "Retail Innovations Redefining the Customer Experience", we highlighted 10 examples of innovations that retail brands are successfully executing to create awesome in-store experiences.
KDM P.O.P. Solutions Group supports some of the nation’s top retailers and consumer brands with innovative retail solutions to help them engage shoppers, drive sales and build brands at the point-of-purchase. We do this by blending technology with custom POP print materials, custom merchandise displays from temporary to permanent, designing retail environment experiences to include store fixtures, interactive kiosks and décor. Contact us today!