There is a common myth that brick and mortar stores will soon be a thing of the past. With the rapid rise in online shopping, Amazon Prime, and shopping holidays such as “Cyber Monday”, it can be easy to believe that physical retail spaces don’t matter anymore. When the rest of the world is going digital, why wouldn’t the same hold true for shopping?
The Rise of eCommerce
The year is 2014. Brands like Warby Parker and Casper are taking Instagram and Facebook by storm with their sleek aesthetic, unique branding proposition, and innovative products. Even better are the user-friendly websites that make online shopping simple and, dare we say, enjoyable.
Today there are 20 other companies trying to be the next Warby Parker, Casper, or Dollar Shave Club. Each has a strong social media presence and follows you around the Internet with expertly designed and targeted ads. However, there is little that sets each business apart from the other and many are being left in the dust. The Internet has proven to be a hard place to create an individualized shopping experience.
As a result, companies who emerged as eCommerce giants have taken to opening physical stores. Warby Parker now has over 64 locations in the U.S. and Casper mattresses can be found in over 1,000 Target stores nationwide. So why the shift back to brick-and-mortar stores?
Experience Over Convenience
When shopping online, a person’s experience is limited to a website’s functionality and customer service representatives. There is minimal personalization and many websites look the same.
Brick-and-mortar retail spaces provide shoppers with an overall experience. Everything from the wall color, how the store smells, lighting and music is chosen with the customer in mind. It’s these details that allow companies to distinguish themselves and keep customers coming back for more.
Many are also realizing that it’s worth being able to touch, see, and feel certain items before choosing to buy them. We’ve all had an item arrive at our doorstep that, upon opening, isn’t quite what we were expecting. While shopping for clothes online is convenient, being able to try them on in store eliminates any worry that they won’t fit.
There is another myth that Millennials are the reason brick-and-mortar stores are failing. While they shop both online and in-store, they’re actually much more likely to make a purchase in-store. Millennials have a need for instant gratification and don’t want to wait for items to be shipped. A physical store allows shoppers to browse at their leisure and then purchase the item they like right away.
Best of Both Worlds
While brick-and-mortar isn’t going away, neither is online shopping. As a result, many companies are combining the two worlds through apps and mobile shopping. Target offers coupons that shoppers can only access through their app. CVS uses location services to notify shoppers of offers and deals once they arrive at one of the drugstore locations. Mobile apps create a personalized in-store experience unlike any other.
What to Consider When Opening a Retail Store
- Consider the location of your business and obtain foot traffic numbers so you know how many people to expect at your store.
- Do your research. Be certain there is a market for your business and that it is relevant to the community.
- Define the customer experience. Millennials want an experience that is different than online and “worth the drive”. Create a mobile app to enhance the brick-and-mortar experience for your customers and ensure your customer service goes above and beyond.
- Create a strong social media presence that highlights the unique elements of your store. This will attract your customers and make them want to see your store for themselves.
Ready to open your own retail store? Rosetti Properties offers retail space in Albany, NY perfect for businesses of all sizes. Get in touch today and become the store your customers will love to shop!