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Retail trend 2022: clicks to bricks

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

Jan 5, 2022

Retail

IMAGE: ALPHATAURI

Ever changing technologies and the rise of online shopping hasn’t dented the popularity for brick and mortar retail, but mastering in-store experiences alongside user experience online is the pinnacle of future success.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, wrote in an opinion piece in Raconteur that online shopping remains on the rise but the pandemic accelerated changes in consumer behaviour and how we shop. “This,” she argues, “is changing the role of stores and high streets, which must find new ways of drawing in customers. Meanwhile, many retailers invested hugely in expanding their online capacity and digital connectivity for their customers.”

“Experiential retail, in hibernation during the pandemic, is now coming back, with greater use of pop ups, shows, and entertainment. Likewise, the integration of online and in-store retail will continue. Every time a customer browses online and buys in-store, or browses in-store before purchasing on their phone, they prove the importance of all channels – and the way they knit together.”

Lockdown left shoppers hungry to visit stores, touch products and have more physical experiences. This should be the anchor to merging physical and digital, as technology continues to re-write the retail landscape.

According to McKinsey, the UK leads in online shopping, with 20 per cent of UK consumers shopping entirely or mostly online. In a report called Rebooting Retail, McKinsey proposes “the retail experience of the future will be propelled by physical technology and advanced analytics to meet changing consumer expectations, whilst allowing retailers to reset the operating model and economics.”

Disruption of the physical retail model

Retailing is no longer about maximising every square meter in a store. Traditionally retailers filled every possible space with rails and shelves and stacked these with products to meet margins. This strategy no longer works where omni-channel is now the norm. Shoppers are looking to connect with brands and have a more personalised experience when shopping in-store. Research from the Westfield mall group URW shows 89 percent of customers are interested in using more technology in-store.

Merging a physical and online experience into one is key, while remaining separate businesses. In the mind of the end consumer, the e-commerce and in-store experience is becoming increasingly blurred.

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