The use of data and technology will make brick and mortar essential to delivering customer personal empowerment, that is Customers want control of their relationship with your brand. Are brands ready for it?
According to Retail Dive, digitally native brands are supposed to open 850 stores in the next five years. About 60% of them will be pop-ups and 40% permanent locations. The showroom concept (with in-store inventory) will decline and will maintain its importance only in the fashion and apparel business. As a matter of fact, according to Digiday, 71% of retailers are investing in physical store upgrades in order to make them part of a holistic strategy (Omnichannel) In order to get the best out of your physical retail presence, you need to make sure that
- Customers feel that visiting the store provides value to the overall brand experience. Plan carefully your retailtainment activities and identify the brand micro-moments that can make the real difference.
- Identify your Brick and Mortar KPIs which will not be the traditional ones (such as Sales per Sqf). Your Store KPIs will be comparable with your digital KPIs and will help you understand how the store is performing within your Omnichannel strategy. I would suggest three KPIs categories:
- Relationship. We could measure how many are store visitors and how frequently they visit; how many of them are part of the brand loyalty program; How do they like to shop; Do they enjoy getting personal advice from store associates; Do they use social in-store entertainment. Depending on your marketing strategy and content, you need to find what to measure and what is the appropriate KPI.
- Conversion. We could measure the share of sales converted in store coming from leads generated elsewhere; the leads generated in the store and converted in other channels; the whole churn rate after store visit; the frequency and values of purchases involving store visit. c. Physical A/B testing. A/B testing is crucial not only for eCommerce sales but also for in-store sales. It requires specific training to store associates who most of the time are trained to sell products and not to understand Customers micro-moments or details of their sales journey.
- Personnel. The store itself is just real estate. It becomes important when your store associates are evangelists of your brand and work as a team with all their colleagues involved in Social Media, WebChats, eCommerce and the other channels of your mix. This means a low turnover of personnel and a strong investment in their skills and professional development. Customers are looking for answers and advice. Not all brand are prepared to provide that through their store associates.