Omnichannel Marketing

With so many devices now opening up portals for consumers to interact with businesses in different ways, it looks like a scary time for brick and mortar shops. Purchases are now as simple to make as the tap of a phone screen, leaving many shop owners wondering if they should begin packing up their shops and moving to a purely digital realm. However, data is showing a much different reality.

E-commerce is not the (only) Future

Since 1995, the retail market has been altering itself to fit the capabilities of the internet and the desires of the consumer. It used to be there was only one channel a customer could interact with a brand through – the brick and mortar shop. Come the late 2000s, different customers were shopping in shop while other shoppers were doing everything online. This then evolved into the current state where all shoppers are now using a variety of channels to do business with their preferred brand. Because so many of these channels in the omnichannel system are online, brick and mortar shops have become wary of their position in the retail market.
Luckily, this trepidation is unfounded. In 2013 alone, brick and mortar shops accounted for a full 90% of all purchases made in the US, and this trend is expected to continue through next year. This proves that the fear of a complete e-commerce takeover is exaggerated.
At the same time, however, it would be naive to underestimate the power of e-commerce. Its continued growth shows that there is a substantial market for online retail. Yet, even with this ease of online purchasing, customers still seek validation of the worth of a product by getting to handle it themselves prior to paying for it.

Adaptation is Key

In the end, it’s the failure to adapt that leads to the death of a brand, not a brick and mortar shop. Just look at Disney. They run theme parks – brick and mortar locations that take far more money to keep in business than any one shop, and they are thriving. This is because of their success in mastering the omnichannel approach to business. From their mobile applications to their Magic Bands, everything engages the customers and promotes a mutually beneficial relationship between the two parties, resulting in a golden era for the brand.
While the prospects of omnichannel marketing are virtually limitless, there are basic rules to stick to as a way to ensure success:

  • Don’t let money control your decisions. Refrain from using customer information to cash out on ad revenue.
  • Embrace new technologies and business opportunities even if they make you leave your business “comfort zone”.

Only by revering these tenets can you be sure your growth into an omnichannel way of doing business is one that fosters further strong relationships whether you’re interacting with your audience online or in person.

Amazon’s Brick and Algo Retail

In 2015, Amazon did something that seemed to define the very word “ironic” – they opened their own brick and mortar store in Seattle. While the jeers that the company that saw to the cementing of e-commerce as a retail option would open up something their services have been eradicating the world over did not go unheard, it nevertheless proves as evidence that brick and mortar is not only still alive and thriving but that it is a necessary part of the retail experience.

This new bookstore from Amazon is anything but a classic brick and mortar store, however. It is fully influenced by the data collected from the website. It provides a selection of books almost entirely influenced by what customers are reading and what they are finding value in. By employing analytics to track every purchase, it is promoting a store that is driven by customers and not publishing companies buying bookshelf space.
In the end, this evolution toward a “brick and algorithms” store sums up the evolution of society. With our data quickly affecting events on the internet, it makes sense to then want to find a way to allow this to happen in the retail world to revitalize stores that used to only stock based on best guesses. It is adaptation at its finest – allowing customers to still achieve the desired tactile shopping method while immediately knowing if the product is worth the price.

Rising vacancy in the Netherlands, Pop Up Shops on the rise.

The Netherlands faced its own rather upsetting year in 2014 as retail space vacancies continued to grow in conjunction with the bankruptcy of a few major store chains. By the end of the year, it was reported that 2.45 million square meters were up for grabs with 8% of them abandoned. To make matters worse, it was discovered that consumers had decreased their overall spending. However, it seemed that this problem was mainly an issue for small- and medium-sized towns as large cities managed to remain stable.

For the fourth year in a row, rent decreased. In addition, asking prices remained lower than rent, giving hope that a low has not yet been achieved. Better yet, though, is the fact that retail stock is still rising. The unfortunate effect of this, though, is that it has been spurning on a supply increase of 9%. Real estate continues to build stores, flooding the economy with goods that the region is spending less and less on. While this remains a large issues in the smaller cities, it seems the bigger locations are finally starting to level out their supply and demand balance.

As for the future? Though shoppers are expected to start spending more, experts are predicting a continued disconnect, resulting in the upswing of vacancies and supply leading to overall price drops save for key locations in key cities.

Source: NVM Business, Retail Market, March 2015