According to the TimeTrade.com State of Retail 2016, customers still want an in-store experience. They want to touch and feel things, with prompt and personalized service. In fact, according to the report, customers are visiting stores more than last year, so the in-store experience is more crucial than ever.
We have heard about Amazon opening a brick-and-mortar store, and now retailers like Bonobos that have strictly been online are opening stores so that people can come try on the clothing before purchasing. Customers want the hybrid experience of an e-commerce/physical store experience. The call center is also playing a role. In call center trends for 2016, businesses need to take notice, because a poor call center experience can contribute to the annual loss of $41 billion per year for bad customer service.
RetailDive says the bottom line is that retailers need to listen to the customer, who is more informed and engaged than ever. At NRF 2016, a large topic of conversation was turnarounds, bankruptcies, and store closings. Business has to change because consumers are changing. They can now purchase the same product from a competitor with three clicks of a button.
Retailers are watching Baby Boomers and Millennials very closely when it comes to shopping habits. Baby Boomers have more disposable income, and Millennials are coming into their prime spending years, so both groups are equally important to study. According to Business Insider, they have a lot in common when it comes to spending. Both groups continue to shop in stores, even though Boomers want a more personal customer experience and Millennials are happy to whip out a phone if they have a question.
Fortune reported that Walmart is winning millennials at the exact right moment. This demographic is reaching prime spending years, and looking for the best prices. Even though they are shopping online and using the app, millennials are still going into the brick-and-mortar stores for the bargains.
This change in consumer behavior is forcing retail stores to measure success and growth in different ways. For example, offering a more omnichannel approach that includes e-commerce, the square footage of the store is not as relevant as it once was, but a physical presence is still important. “The retail store is not dead,” said Steve Barr, a partner and the US Retail and Consumer Sector leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, “You just have to connect with the consumer.”