Times of huge changes: How is Retail adapting?
Retail is adapting the experience of connecting the offline with the online world to survive, settle and grow in times of huge changes in the user buyer behaviour
As humans, we need to feel that we are part of something, understand what we are and where we belong. That is part of our needs. That is why the brands are moving closer to the customers, helping them to develop an identity that allows them to enroll in a demeanour community. But every time it is more common to see how flagships stores are sitting empty while online shops increase speedily.
As an architectural reference, those stores are visited daily by tourists and trendy followers in the main cities around the globe, ricing in the most important streets and corners as points of cultural permanence. But for creating deeper relationships, those walls need to build a better brand experience where visitors are able to recognise what they represent further than the interior design and the collection itself.
Jelle Sapulete, Adidas global brand design director, talking with FRAME mentioned that “if you are not telling the right story if you are not able to show it (in a strong way), you missed out on that sense of belonging.”
In order to develop those strategies is necessary to recognise the online channel not as a competitor but as an ally. Taking advantage of digital platforms to make the business grow means becoming an omnichannel, expanding the window display to any screen around the world, becoming a source of inspiration for a remake and reviving the role of the store. In this way, the release of the Online Flagship Stores had become a new framework of the brand DNA, where the nature of the brand is finely connected to the capacity to interact with the brand touchpoints on the palm of your hand. This is an amazing example of how to transform standardized processes into experiential and customized journeys where the customer realizes that it is made just for him/her, as most of them work perfectly just for the transactions in the process, turning it into an inspirational relation. Fortunately, the commerce platforms must not be substituted by new structures, regardless of the type of platform that they are managing nowadays, saving the investment that is already done. This is because using the best part of the existing platforms is just necessary to introduce the material to create quality content which reinforce the experience in a space that the customer already recognizes.
But is it enough to open an online flagship store? Rarely a brand supplies an iconic experience easy to remember, making people hesitate and fails to differentiate brands. This change of channel is about integrated digital, physical and social media-based lives into a space where the integration could be potentially gratifying. Therefore, the use of technology in retail stores to create this omnichannel, connecting the people from the closest communication tools like the personal device to develop a very personal experience where retailers are able to control and learn about the rhythm of the store.
Upcoming flagships stores must be nimbler. In a world which is constantly changing and where the people want to belong to a community, the cultural track is a difference between being a place where to find a product and enrol the direct-to-customer brand position, making worth the relation one to one, rewarding the customers during the visits to the store and surprise them. As well another advantage is the capability to overcome the boundaries of the buying online and offline, involving the community in a harmonious way, making the customer visit both spaces avoiding the feeling of purchase commitment and turning this process into something natural.