Storefront Struggling Should Learn From Ecommerce

Note: This article originally was featured on the MITX blog.

With holiday 2014 already at our doorstep, the current climate can look dark for many retailers. Ecommerce sales are projected to rise 16.6% this year to over $72 billion in holiday 2014, according to eMarketer. Despite overall sales number projected to rise, a shortened holiday season and other factors can cast a cloud over retailers with large physical locations.

We know that shoppers are fleeing physical store locations, drastically and consistently. From The Wall Street Journal, foot traffic has continued to fall 5% year-over-year for over 12 months.

Foot Traffic
It’s more important than ever for retailers to focus on technology and projects that bring customers back in-store. With long-term lease deals and a changing consumer, giving up on the storefront simply isn’t an option. Plus, retailers aren’t the only ones unhappy with storefronts: 40% of shoppers say in-store is the experience retailers most need to improve. So what to do? Borrow ideas from the massive growth of ecommerce.

A whitepaper from Parago outlined the changing face of retail and in-store vs. ecommerce. There are many great takeaways from the research, including how to integrate the benefits of shopping online in-store:

Using tablets in-store to cross-sell complementary items can give shoppers the best of both online and offline shopping experiences, and ‘connect the dots’ for the shopper to understand that offline and online shopping can be seamless experiences.

More good news here: shoppers not only *want* an improved storefront, but are expecting these changes. Real time promotions and product recommendations work so well in ecommerce, but this can work in-store, too: seventy-nine percent of participants were interested in the possibility of having digital content delivered to their mobile phones while shopping in a store, via Latitude. Sixty-three percent of smartphone owners will use their phone to compare prices in-store, and the majority of shoppers across all age groups will use their phone to shop in-store. The current storefront experience just does not capture all this value.

The math starts to look simple. Connected consumers expecting change + struggling, stagnant storefronts = the perfect time for in-store innovation. We think one way to help retailers in engaging with consumers, and working to turn deep-discount seeking zombies into loyal, valuable customers – and that’s why we’ve developed Customer Engaged Pricing.

How do you think the in-store experience – and physical storefronts – can improve in the next 12-36 months?

Joe Shartzer

Cofounder at Nyopoly
Joe Shartzer is a co-founder of Nyopoly and loves startups, stats, sports, and alliterations. And bourbon.
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