News recently broke that Amazon, arguably the inventors of the online-only retailer industry, is opening dozens of brick and mortar retail stores throughout the United States.
The question is, why?
Haven't we all been talking about how retail is dead?
Why would a company who built the largest retailer in America through the internet alone, want to invest countless millions, and create such a massive overhead, in physical retail stores?
One word. Omnichannel.
What is Omnichannel?
Omnichannel essentially means ensuring your customer's experience is the same regardless of how they interact with your brand. Your customers can find you on your website, social media, email, phone, mobile SMS texts, chat, or in person at your store.
With so many different ways to engage your customer, creating a unified experience is essential to promoting and managing your brand. And having an in-person representation is still crucial for many businesses, especially retailers.
Our own CEO, Kevin Gervais, explained it so eloquently about 6 months ago:
True shoppers (coincidentally the ones that spend the most money) know that shopping is not really about the transaction. It is actually about the experience, the process. They are the ones that revel in the discovery, the creation, the imagination that the act of shopping sparks. The transaction itself is secondary – and can easily, maybe preferably, be done online. Hence what retailers are calling the phenomenon of “showrooming”: what consumers do when they visit stores, try things on, look around, and pick their top choice items, but go online to make the purchase. Retailers who understand this, the ones who understand the power of the shopping experience, are actually thriving by leveraging their understanding of what consumers want.
Retailers are recognizing that, while online shopping is more popular than ever, people still like to physically see and touch things before making a buying decision, and that their physical stores provide an opportunity to do that, plus get in-person guidance from staff who actually care.
It may not be where they make the actual final transaction, but for many it is an important step in their buying process. A means to justify their purchase.
Business owners can learn from these mega retailers. Don't listen to the premature calls of the "death of retail". Brick and mortar stores aren't going anywhere, but the role they play in the omnichannel customer experience is changing.
About the AuthorFollow on Twitter Follow on Linkedin