Saturday, September 6, 2014

Retail has to evolve or face extinction.

As ubiquitous mall tenants from Sears to Radio Shack shutter stores and consumers shop more online from the comfortable confinements of their urban caves, the days are gone when a cookie cutter models could be applied to retail mall design.

Smartphones, acting as remote controls for real life, i.e., you open an app, press a button, a taco appears, satisfy the desire for instant gratification driven by ultra-availability technologies that have conditioned us to no tolerance for boredom.

Originally, shopping centers and malls were invented for logistical purposes; conveniently and inexpensively located in suburban settings with ample parking available providing a consistent experience globally.

Today, malls need to be constantly different to draw and sustain a critical mass of shoppers.

"What we are doing as a landlord is facilitating the bricks-and-mortar retailer to compete with an online retailer as it relates to convenience, which is, 'Give me what I want when I want it'"
General Growth Properties CEO Sandeep Mathrani

Researcher suggests that internet-enabled, always-on, on-demand technology has made us much less active. And that includes not just middle-aged workers tied to their desks, but also young men and women who spend their days sitting in front of their laptops.

Back in the 1980s, 80 to 90 percent of people reported doing at least some physical activity in their leisure time. But now, up to half of Americans say they are not active at all.

This sedentary lifestyle has changed our consumer behavior as shopping is no longer just an activity to purchase merchandise. With an immediate gratification being just a few taps away, brick-and-mortar shopping has to evolve into a dynamic experience that constantly needs to be different to draw and sustain shoppers. In other words, not shop more but shop better. More sustainable and pleasant. You have to have a community experience that's a draw for your target audience to come.

The simple solution — it’s all about mobile. But not in the way you might think.

Mobile is an effective means of enhancing the retail experience.Retailers can significantly improve their customer experience and trim their store layouts and their inventories by only keeping one version of each item on the selling floor, and shoppers use a smartphone app (like our app Qyu) to scan the tags attached to the pieces they want to try on. The items are then dispensed into a dressing room.

Retailers can also benefit from using Bluetooth beacons to make shopping more seamless. By placing these sensors around stores, shoppers who opt in will be able to receive additional information about items that they walk past or pick up, enjoy gamified content, as well as targeted promotions based on where they are in the store.

From checkout to loyalty cards, we are already training people to ignore the boring. Every interaction and interface will need to deliver entertainment or be ignored.
The stores themselves need to offer free Wi-Fi, so consumers can easily browse the Web, and there should be signs teaching them what additional information they can pull up on their phones—for example, product reviews. Store associates should also be trained to refer shoppers to their mobile app and make its functionality part of the in-store experience.

While our non-scientific research indicates a mixed picture
If a retailer targeted an offer to me while I was in-store:
Find it creepy!  40%
Would use if I get a discount! 36%
I'm not sure how I'd feel 24%
Total Votes: 1693

We believe that through our desire for instant gratification and need to create share-able content we remain positive that with the right concepts in place, it will be a win-win situation for all.