The future of retail
Retail sales are now divided between internet sales and in-store sales, which are declining in proportion to web sales. What does the future hold? Selling on the web Web sales can be broken down into two systems: Both sectors are currently steadily gaining market share. In-store sales Sears is in financial difficulty in the U.S., […]
Retail sales are now divided between internet sales and in-store sales, which are declining in proportion to web sales. What does the future hold?
Selling on the web
Web sales can be broken down into two systems:
- Platforms such as Amazon, Kijiji and Le Bon Coin, which allow individuals to put whatever they want up for sale.
- Online stores that offer a personalized online experience
Both sectors are currently steadily gaining market share.
Sears is in financial difficulty in the U.S., Sears Canada is up for sale, and so is Macy’s in New York. Specialists are predicting a sharp drop in store floor space and the closure of certain shopping centers.
It has to be said that the retail sector is for the most part very sclerotic, except for a few who have understood that they have to change to survive. I’ve talked to department store presidents who explained to me that they don’t train their sales staff because staff turnover is too high, so they deny the service distinctiveness that will be the key to retail survival in the future.
Shops in danger
Above all, the Internet attacks the market niche of low prices and those where service is not important. The first to see their sales fall are the large discount stores and shopping centers on the outskirts of major cities. Many of these are likely to disappear, and that’s probably not a bad thing considering their poor aesthetics. They grew up in the suburbs thanks to the car, and will disappear thanks to the Internet.
The future of the retail store
The reason consumers move to a retail outlet is authenticity, the chance to see and touch the product, to try it out, the personalized advice, the service, the customer experience they get from it. This is the store’s added value; those who don’t give it will disappear.
Here are the current directions:
- The boutique is trendy, the department store retro
- Stores in city centers will often become living spaces, displaying products and offering advice. Warehousing, for the most important products, in former suburban stores converted into warehouses. Some purchases will be made physically on site, while others will be made virtually from the store, with delivery within 24 hours.
- Providing customers with tablets to help them make their choices, as is already the case in Sephora stores.
- Simultaneous use of a real shopping basket for products in-store and a virtual one for those not in-store – this is also what Sephora does.
- Holograms to show products on the floor
- Digital mirror
- Multi-channel use by the store: e-mail, telephone, text messages,
- Personalized customer follow-up over the phone
- Automated payment procedures
- Customer management by CRM based on criteria: recency, frequency, average basket.
The failure of Amazon’s automated store
Amazon has launched a new concept for in-store sales: no checkout, no queuing, no payment.
The concept is based on :
- Customer identification by means of a terminal at the entrance
- Camera surveillance of his every move and gesture, to spot the things he picks up on the shelf
- Automatic debiting of goods taken from your Amazon account.
The trial failed for technical reasons, as the system cannot control more than 20 people at the same time in the stores, and even then the customers have to move slowly.
But beyond the technical aspects, I have very mixed feelings about the success of this store, which offers nothing more than the Internet and also gives its customers an unpleasant impression of surveillance.
Retail is necessary, but if it is to survive, it must give priority to HUMANITY, while combining it with today’s tools, the customer experience, the advice we want to receive, and the pleasure of being able to touch and try out products.
The store manager must therefore invest in his employees, train them, coach them, teach them a sense of welcome, a hello, a smile, empathy and quality advice. This is what makes a quality boutique attractive, and it’s irreplaceable.
Good basic product training and sales and service training are still the simplest and most effective weapons for delivering an exceptional human experience.