At their National Retail Federation “Big Show” Super Session, Alison Paul, Vice Chairman and U.S. Retail and Distribution Leader at Deloitte LLP presented the company’s findings from an executive summary they published entitled The Next Evolution: Store 3.0. The report focused on three key areas crucial to transforming brick and mortar stores into retail outlets that keep in step with shoppers’ tendencies and emerging technologies.
Deloitte’s Store 3.0 Survey found that “79% of surveyed retail executives either agreed or strongly agreed that the store will continue as the primary place to shop in the next five years.” Respondents added that the in-store experience would remain the central channel for customers to engage with brands and interact with sales associates for the foreseeable future.
The three areas retailers need to reexamine, according to the study, are:
- Talent – Mobile technology allows customers to compare prices and shop around without leaving your store. Sales associates can play an important role in helping to educate and inform the customer’s decision.
- Physical Space – Store footprints are shrinking and the store within a store model is becoming increasingly more commonplace. Retailers should consider looking at their lease terms and store footprints, as larger inventories are available online.
- Store Processes and Systems – Retailers should familiarize themselves with new and emerging technologies to determine if they can benefit the customer’s experience and how they can be deployed within the store.
The executive summary offers this disclaimer: “There is not a one-size-fits-all solution for retailers. And the answers to these questions will vary dramatically across retail formats.” The challenge retailers now face is to keep up with changes in the environment and with the customers themselves. They must alter their approaches to meet their customer’s expectations.
According to David Jaffe, CEO of Ascena Retail Group, “brick and mortar stores need to create a pleasurable store experience.” He cited one store’s efforts to renovate their fitting rooms, making each one unique and inviting, as a way to improve customer/retailer relationships.
Retailers should examine their workforce, physical space and technology deployed to ensure that the customer has a unique and informed in-store experience.