As several big-name retailers begin downsizing, others are investing more in their in-store experiences—some for the first time ever—and adding mobile to the mix. Although the cards are stacked against traditional brick-and-mortar, omnichannel shopping is alive and well, and retail stores are a key component.
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Hear from top e-commerce executives and what they're saying about the importance of retail stores and their upcoming plans for enhancing the in-store experience:
This forward-thinking brand already uses their smartphone and tablet apps to capitalize on Singles' Day sales, shoppable video, and more. Now, Farfetch plans transition from pureplay to omnichannel retail by opening a "Store of the Future" this year, which will focus on personalization by leveraging data.
The future of luxury fashion, we believe, will involve — to a large extent — the physical store... But the future of the physical store will be augmented by digital platforms. At this intersection of physical and digital retail, many new customer-focused, unique experiences are suddenly made possible.
— José Neves, Founder and CEO
Rent the Runway
After its flagship store opened in New York in 2013, more locations popped up in places, like Chicago, San Francisco, D.C., and Vegas because Rent the Runway quickly realized the benefits of brick-and-mortar stores—people with appointments purchase 26x more often than online shoppers. Its stores are outfitted with check-in kiosks, which help associates learn about shoppers' preferences, and offer customers styling sessions.
It's more like a club, or a place that you feel like you're kind of a member of.... We find for a lot of our customers, that experience is what makes them fall in love with our stores.
— Maureen Sullivan, President
Nordstrom plans to focus on uniting its online and in-store experiences after seeing sales drop for over a year. A new associate app is expected to enable employees to send recommendations directly to their customers from the retailer's online catalog. The company is also exploring self-checkout.
The way customers are choosing to shop in a more digitally connected world continues to change, and we know we need to find ways for our stores to evolve with them. This is a challenge but we also see a tremendous opportunity to leverage our stores in ways that will allow us to serve customers into the future better than anyone else.
— Erik Nordstrom, Co-president
Since the downfall of some athletic and department stores, Nike is dedicated to customizing experiences in their own stores. A multi-floor store in Manhattan offers brand enthusiasts adaptive lighting in the dressing rooms to see what clothing looks like in different locations, testing floors for specialized shoes, same-day deliveries, and more. Mobile integration plays a key part in their strategy, where shoppers can book one-on-one appointments for consultations.
Consumers just expect more. They expect more immersive experiences at retail like you are seeing here.
— Heidi O'Neill, President of Global Direct to Consumer
Barnes & Noble
Potentially looking to expand its customer base, Barnes & Noble built a restaurant inside the store, which locally sources beer and wine, and is completely surrounded by book displays. Associate and customer ordering systems are an integral part of the in-store experience.
We know we have a lot to learn, and we welcome that. We want this to be a special place … and we will work to keep improving.
— David Deason, VP of Development
Branding Brand and guest speaker, Forrester Principal Analyst Brendan Witcher, discussed how to transform your omnichannel retail strategy and which retailers are leading the way with their online and in-store innovation.
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