NRF Retailers: Could Brick Be the New Black?
Is brick really the new black? At the NRF2015 Big Show this week, it seemed that way. JDA Software was one of several vendors that focused presentations on how retailers can reposition brick-and-mortar stores as the center of the new customer experience.
Today’s customers, particularly Millennials, are always “on,” and that has caused retailers to react accordingly. Connectivity between online and brick and mortar outlets, for example, is quickly becoming a “must-have.” Although e-commerce use is commonplace, brick and mortars also have a spot in the retail ecosphere. An NRF panel entitled, “Brick Is the New Black,” Chairman and CEO of JDA Software Bal Dail, President of Levi’s Brand James Curleigh, former CEO of Walmart U.S. Bill Simon, senior partner at brand agency Lippincott James Wright, discussed strategies to meet the wants and needs of tech-savvy customers. The panel’s conclusion? Retailers can leverage brick and mortar environments to thrive in today’s dynamic retail landscape despite the rise of online shopping and omni-channel. Partly this is being accomplished by creating more interesting in-store experiences, and partly by encouraging customers to use online technology to facilitate in-store pickup.
“The death knell for brick-and-mortar was premature. Physical stores remain at the emotional and financial core of today’s retail model and can be leveraged to engage and delight the new boss and deliver real profit and brand equity,” said Wayne Usie, senior vice president of retail industry strategy at JDA Software. “However, retailers need to act now to evolve their processes and capabilities to capture the potential that the new boss holds, or risk losing this fickle customer to a competitor.”
Melding the online and physical worlds with strategies such as “BOPIS” (buy online, pick up in store), also referred to as “click and collect,” help brick and mortars attract customers who are comfortable with e-commerce, particularly the Millennial set. Such customers can browse and comparison shop quickly and efficiently online, and then go to the physical store location for the “look and feel” experience, and, finally, to take delivery of the product. Of course, to be successful, inventories need to be in perfect sync to avoid customer frustration and disappointment.
Sometimes, however, a little pocketbook persuasion is necessary to rout them from behind their screens: A recent study by Parago said that 80% of shoppers would BOPIS for a $10 rebate on a $50 purchase. That’s a hefty 20% discount. However, if a brick and mortar store can entice a customer to buy more merchandise when he or she comes to retrieve the original order, it may be well worth offering the incentive.
Have you implemented click and collect? If so, let us know in the comments how it’s going, and whether customer’s shopping baskets increase once they are in the physical store. If you haven’t yet implemented click and collect, let us know why not.