The future of physical retail is a hotly contested topic. While online pure players have pronounced physical retail dead, brick-and-mortar sites continue to preach the long-term benefits of offering engaging in-store experiences to consumers. It’s uncertain who will win out in the end, but in the near term, physical and online retailers will continue to exist in parallel.
How can stores make a meaningful contribution to the customer experience while profitability is on the decline? Many stores are experimenting to figure it out. This ranges from showrooms with a focus on consulting, to on-site service stops with omnichannel functions, all the way to temporary brand presentation-and-exhibition rooms, and large-scale experience staging.
Rather than focusing on the ‘other’ as a competitor, the diverse channels have the potential to leverage their differences and position themselves to better support the evolving customer journey side-by-side.