The end of physical commerce? Not if you make it personal
Purple is a client of Business Reporter
The disappearance of physical retail has dominated the debate to the point that it has almost become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The universally accepted mantra is that good old retail has had its day, usurped by online – the (relatively) newcomer to the shopping district.
We have all become so caught up in this negativity – exacerbated by the past two years of global disruption – as digital retail has exploded, faster and more powerfully than anyone predicted. Disruption isn’t new to retail, but it’s different, with digital adoption strategies accelerating to deliver a transformation that, without the pandemic, might have taken a decade.
Change first, then you will survive – and thrive Ask yourself, has this acceleration simply changed your direction rather than shaped your overall business vision? Despite a significant increase in e-commerce investment, this has not fundamentally changed retail. The convenience, choice, more personalized experience and security of shopping online means far fewer people visit physical stores, evidence of a diminished sense of loyalty. Your customers have changed irrevocably, and so must you.
Data from Purple’s recent research project – covering 1,500 shoppers across the grocery, fashion and clothing and big box retailers sectors with mature online and physical shopping operations in the UK United, United States and Mexico – confirm that 75% of us still have one foot firmly planted in each of them. camp. Shoppers remain optimistic about the future of physical retail and want it to survive, with 60% of our sample unable to envision a future where fashion retail disappears. Among food retailers, 40% of customers are skeptical that this sector will move entirely online.
Retail isn’t wasted on young people Young shoppers make instant judgments about your brand – about your fit with their lifestyle, values and interests, and about the quality of the overall shopping experience. They expect an experience that closely mirrors their online business, aligned with sustainability – reflecting the growing impact of climate change, social justice and inclusiveness. The data confirms the importance of these “soft experiential discriminators”.
Understanding who your buyers are and curating tailored marketing initiatives, including targeted programs, promotions, and personalized experiences based on real customer service rather than an algorithm, are key to building loyalty. With 97% of respondents to our survey saying retailers can improve their brand loyalty, and 83.5% saying some sort of personalization or targeting would make them more loyal, the opportunity is clear.
Retail pessimism? It’s so pre-pandemic! Let’s be positive for the future. Our data reveals that over 40% of customers have made more than 30 purchases at a physical store in the past year. Online still has some way to go to challenge traditional brick-and-mortar footfall.
Physical retail remains the benchmark for regular shoppers. Globally, retailers saw a 7% increase in footfall and a 48% increase in customer return rates, compared between before the pandemic began and after. And only brick-and-mortar stores can turn the shopping journey into a shopping adventure.
The pandemic preceded a series of extraordinary events, from crippled supply chains to generational inflation and the impact of conflict in Ukraine. It is difficult for retailers to completely change course under these conditions. However, evidence suggests that the fallout from these events makes it increasingly important to seize your opportunity before it’s too late.
Make your stores as exciting, attractive and personalized as possible. The winners will be those who build the most rewarding customer experience.
It’s not physical. It’s not digital… Stop seeing today’s digital acceleration as a threat and start seeing it as a unique opportunity to transform your retail strategy. It is a complex hybrid. Take a unified approach that aligns with ever-changing customer expectations to create a new profitable omnichannel future. Integrate physical retail with online data collection, delivering a new seamless shopping experience where the combination of online and offline commerce drives even higher levels of customer satisfaction and revenue.
Data Drives Personalization, Drives LoyaltyData-driven personalization drives loyalty. More than 60% of people we spoke to confirmed higher loyalty to retailers who provided personalized experiences, sent them tailored promotions when shopping in-store, and demonstrated understanding of their specific needs. Consumers want their shopping adventures to be supported and educated online. They expect to be engaged, surprised and delighted by the immediate, responsive and, above all, personal in their physical environment as well.
It’s all about accessing customer data while they shop, finding a smarter, faster way to understand their behaviors. This means building your future business on a scalable selection of key physical fulfillment “showroom” environments, enhanced by a curated, highly personalized and immersive experience that offers on-site online connectivity.
Retailers and discerning customers engagePurple helps retailers replicate, then exceed, the knowledge-gathering potential of online connection in their physical locations. Savvy retailers and consumers believe that boosting engagement by improving the overall in-store experience is one of the best opportunities to revolutionize the appeal of brick-and-mortar retail and increase revenue.
By turning stores into smart spaces, there is a huge untapped opportunity to encourage even more visitors to connect to your free Wi-Fi and benefit from data. Sites with built-in smart technology are better able to understand who their customers are, how they behave in-store, and what can best turn passive browsers into active, engaged shoppers. Smart spaces provide opportunities for service excellence and more rewarding experiences for shoppers and visitors – and they can do all of this while generating additional ROI.
Real-world analyticsOur technology integrates sophisticated point-of-use Wi-Fi into stores, allowing traffic flow, occupancy and dwell time to be monitored and managed. All can be viewed in real time to provide tremendous ROI opportunities and drive repeat visits from shoppers eager to join loyalty programs promising tailored and personalized promotions and rewards.
You should never lose contact with a customer just because they leave your store. And you can seamlessly reconnect with them when they visit you online, too. It’s a relationship that’s crucial to creating an exciting future for you and your brick-and-mortar stores.
Start creating your own personalized retail future – read our new white paper.
Since 2012, Purple championed the creation of smart spaces with its innovative Wi-Fi solutions for retail and other high-traffic locations around the world.
Wherever you are on your retail transformation journey, Purple can help you deliver the most engaging and information-rich retail experiences, and use data to dramatically improve the ROI of your retail fleet.
Originally published on Business Reporter