BY MAYRA DIRICO
In the past, it was the retailer who determined what a customer should want to buy and how they should shop. Today, the customer is defining the shopping experience.
Chore vs. Experiential Retail Shopping
As if it hasn’t already, the act of buying commodities (necessary household and personal items) is becoming less of a chore. Players like Amazon and subscription businesses will make this part of retail easier through offerings like auto-renewals, one-tap purchases, and same-day delivery. In other words, the “chore” or routine component of shopping will become more streamlined.
Meanwhile, the experiential side of retail — the part that involves discovering great products and socializing with others — won’t be going away. People will still make their way to physical stores, not because they want to “buy stuff,” but because they want to get experiences that they won’t find anywhere else.
Social Media is Key to Retail
The rise of Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, and messenger apps will fundamentally change how retailers interact with consumers online. Simply posting photos or updates to a branded social profile won’t cut it anymore. Retailers will need to up their social media game and use social networks and apps to tell stories and engage with fans in real time.
Data’s role in retail decision-making will grow, especially as technologies like Big Data and machine learning continue to mature. Forward-thinking retailers will keep exploring ways to collect and leverage data in their sales, marketing, customer service, and operations.
Brick-and-Mortars Actually NOT on the Decline
Traditional store formats may be on the decline, but innovative stores — ones that offer great shopping experiences — will continue to emerge.
Industry data supports this. According to the National Retail Federation, data from the IHL Group shows “a net increase in store openings of over 4,000 in 2017. In fact, for each company closing a store, 2.7 companies are opening stores.”
The Queens Chamber will continue our efforts to support local retail and brick-and-mortars, and provide our members the educational opportunities to thrive.