It’s only April and over 4,800 brick and mortar store closures have been announced by retailers in 2019. This number is expected to shoot past 6,000 in the coming quarters! Compare that to 2018 which saw about 5,500 store closures for the whole year! Clearly, retail transformation is at its peak, thanks to new demographics coming of age and the resulting shift in shopping behavior.
Forrester now estimates that 53% of all purchase decisions are digitally influenced in retail. The new-age Digitally Native Direct to Consumer brand is a testament to how the perception of shopping has shifted from ‘transactional’ to ‘experiential’. Shoppers have come to expect this experiential factor in-store as well, pushing brick and mortar stores to innovate.
So, what is the future of brick-and-mortar stores? Here’s a bed-time story in pictures.
A store is no longer a place to sell your items. It’s a platform to engage shoppers who probably already know you from elsewhere. The picture here advertises a store space in NYC but the language can easily be misunderstood to be for a software platform! Realtors get it!
Now how does a store look like when it is imagined as a platform for engagement instead of a place to sell?
This is how. We visited Hudson Yards NYC, which is a post-eCommerce offline platform for brands and here is the b8ta experience – A place to experience products that is hard to find online – kinda Brookstone reimagined!
B8ta is a tastemaker. And so is Frankie US with their hard to find designer wear. Oh, they are on the ‘floor of discovery’ meant for emerging brands.
Personalized experiences go all the way. Here is some customized perfume if you like that kind!
The reason to visit a mall is not to buy what you know already but to discover what you don’t know exists. That’s post-eCommerce mall experience and there’s more to this experience.
The Snark Park at the Hudson Yards is a pop-up experience that is tactile (touch-driven/spatial experiences that entertain shoppers. The concept changes every few weeks). Unique entertainment possible only when you visit a physical space, brought to you by an architecture studio!
Of course, you would still see anchor stores like Neiman Marcus but also anchors of different kinds like the view deck you see here.
If you are a mixed-use real estate firm or an emerging brand, how do you adapt to such trends?
As a realtor, watch where the emerging brands are gaining shopper attention. As a brand, look beyond your data and see where your competitor cohorts are gaining attention. Begin proactive conversations!