Is the physical retail store dead?

Is the physical store dead or do retailers just need to reinvent their offer? Factotum partner and branding and comms expert, Suzy Socker takes a look at how brands need to evolve themselves and provides tips to help keep the high street alive.

How brands are creating a more innovative and digital experience instore is nothing new. It’s been a highly debated topic of evolution of merchandisers across the globe ever since trailblazers such as Tommy Hilfiger created the store or the future transforming their retail destinations into community spaces where consumers could not only shop collections straight from the runway but immerse themselves into the brand and hangout with likeminded people in a creative space.

Fast forward a few years into the Covid-19 era, and it’s more important than ever for those retailers who still have a place on the high street to continue to reinvent themselves and safeguard themselves for the future.

The recent article in Business of Fashion, titled Tapping into the Future of Physical Retail really struck a chord with me. I will always prefer the bricks and mortar experience to shopping online but with the highstreet in a downward spiral, how to brands continue to reinvent themselves in the digital age to secure their store continues to have a physical presence.

In the article by Cathleen Chen, that I urge every retailer to read, she explores how brands are evolving the store experience creating lifestyle destinations to excite the shopper and keep them revisiting time and time again. She examines how the pandemic has forced brands to reconsider the store experience and provides case studies to show the measures retailers can take to cement their position on the highstreet.

Every retailer can relate to this issue whether their channels are instore, online or both. Factotum client, Coco de Mer is experiencing these challenges currently and CEO and owner Lucy Litwack had this to say about the challenges experience in the world of luxury…

“Luxury is taking on a new definition today. It is no longer just about owning a designer product – instead it is about an individual, exceptional experiences, and an emotional connection. These experiences need to be authentic, unique and immersive. At Coco de Mer, we don’t just offer products. We offer experiences and education in order for men and women to make discoveries and embrace the complexity of pleasure in an environment that is welcoming, empowering and indulgent. 

As today’s world shifts shape, we’re looking to drive growth in many different ways across customer touchpoints, with a focus on direct to consumer channels and social commerce. We know consumers are making more informed decisions about purchases and we need to find a way to surprise and delight our customers by offering a seamless experience between our boutique in London and our ecommerce business – and connect all our retail touchpoints with creative innovation.”

Whether you are a luxury brand, high street fashion brand or the latest tech must have, here are a few tips to help grow your physical retail space and come out winning:

  1. Think audience first and ensure every touchpoint your customer sees in your store resonates with their lifestyle
  2. Always leave your audience wanting more…create experiences that will keep your customer coming back time and time again as quite frankly not every visit will generate a sale
  3. Be exclusive but inclusive – offer your shopper product and a brand experience that they cant get online

For more insight and advice on how Factotum can help you navigate the retail environment and support your business please get in touch.

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