As we work through a global retail revolution there are growing trends in retail commentating and “enhancing the retail experience” is becoming the buzz phrase. At the same time, the discussion is moving away from “the death of bricks’n’mortar” to an acknowledgement that bricks’n’mortar will simply benefit from technological improvements and remain a strong force.
“Selling stuff” has moved on to providing a “shopping experience” and the sentiment has been captured in a quote from Apple Stores creator, Ron Johnson - “A store has got to be much more than a place to acquire merchandise. It’s got to help people enrich their lives. If the store just fulfills a specific product need, it’s not creating new types of value for the consumer. It’s transacting. Any website can do that. But if a store can help shoppers find outfits that make them feel better about themselves, for instance, or introduce them to a new device that can change the way they communicate, the store is adding value beyond simply providing merchandise. The stores that can do that will take the lead.
The recent decline of Toys’R’Us has enhanced the argument with comparisons being drawn between Toys’R’Us with their focus on products and Lego with their focus on experiences, particularly through Legoland centres where the emphasis is on playing with their products.
It is nice to know that bricks’n’mortar shopping is being seen in a more positive way but obviously retailers need to do work on the experience aspect to be part of that future.