By: Paige Greely
In a world where it seems everything has gone viral, we have now even seen retailers shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online. But at the same time, we have watched original e-tailers open brick-and-mortar locations. Likewise, other retailers have combined amenities from both angles for a tag team effect that engulfs a larger consumer base.
Innovative retailers from Costco to Rebecca Minkoff are finding ways to suit consumers’ every need all over the world through utilizing new technologies in-store, on the sidewalks and online.
Costco is known for their low prices and their trusted private-label counterpart Kirkland, which can be found in nine countries all over the world. The warehouses that hold the massive amount of inventory range from 73,000 to 205,000 square feet. However, in high shopping traffic areas, the rent and property prices are one of the biggest obstacles for Costco.
The technological shopping sector is becoming prominent all over the globe. For general shopping products like groceries, this is especially true for countries such as Japan and China. According to WWD, Costco intends to make a move on this opportunity by teaming up with Tmall Global (Tmall.com), a segment of the global e-commerce company Alibaba Group, which provides China with the imported groceries and medical products from the comfort of their home.
On the other hand, many online entities are finding their way into the brick-and-mortar segment, such as menswear favorite Bonobos, sunglass company Warby Parker and women’s jewelry e-tailer BaubleBar.
These formerly online-only merchants have come to life in retail shopping centers and as pop-up shops within big name department stores. Baublebar specifically has found itself adjacent to the shoe department in many Nordstrom locations throughout the U.S. including New York, Seattle and Austin.
The select Baublebar-Nordstrom locations carry exclusive merchandise on custom fixtures and in branded packaging alongside informative displays. These displays educate shoppers on the many different combinations of jewelry pieces. Baublebar has also teamed up with Anthropologie, which sells their merchandise through their 188 retail settings.
After beginning their physical retail setting adventure by partnering with other stores, Baublebar has recently found itself in their very own locations throughout New York. The company will set up shop in vacant spaces for a few days before moving on to the next location and a fresh group of customers.
The reality of today’s retailing challenges has become more than just quality products verses lower prices. Now the biggest challenge seems to be where the overall shopping experience takes place and provides, for there are certain ways consumers like to shop, but these behaviors are forever evolving.
Retailers are beginning to find the term “omnichannel” in common use among successful businesses. “Omnichannel” means utilizing both technology and general in-store strategies to attract the widest group of consumers and satisfy as many of the consumers’ needs as possible in both online and in-store experiences.
The online sector has been, and still is, searching for ways to solve the issues of product trial in the virtual world. In other words, how can the customer know if something fits properly if they are only seeing it on a screen. One solution is having live models and links to where customers can import photos of themselves to try on glasses or apparel.
As the virtual world expands with technological advances on our computer screens it has also come to enhance the brick-and-mortar experience much further than the simple old kiosk.
Rebecca Minkoff has made her New York flagship store a true innovative wonder in the brick-and-mortar retailing game. The designer has teamed up with EBay Inc. to create the ultimate shopping experience with amenities that only online shopping has come to offer.
The store has mirrors on the front right wall that double as touch screens. These allow the customer to journey through a series of clothing and accessory options. Conveniences that the screens offer include looking at the latest runway shows and look books. Then all you have to do is touch an image of an outfit you wish to shop. Then simply order the sizes and colors of the selected garments and boom, pretty soon they will be waiting in the fitting rooms.
The retailing game is known to be ever changing. Along with basic consumer demands, the level of technology is also having to rapidly change in order to keep up with the customers expectations. Whether it is for grocery shopping and or high end designer brands, there are a multitude of different types of consumers out there that the retailer must be prepared for.
By utilizing new technologies, the omnichannel approach and the advantages of brick-and-mortar locations, retailers are raising the bar for the shopping experience in every segment of the industry.