“Retail apocalypse”, or the end of retail in its current form: it’s a buzzword scaring many decision makers around the world since a few years now.
Statistics and numbers seem to speak for themselves: according to the Osservatorio del Politecnico di Milano, in Italy alone, around 61,789 points of sale disappeared between 2010 and 2018.
A real carnage able to re-shape urban spaces and re-design accessibility to services.
The dramatic crisis linked to the pandemic, moreover, seems to have given a further acceleration to all the processes of disruption already generated by the digitalization of commerce and services.
The New Normal, as the post-pandemic consumption scenario is defined, suggests the affirmation of the paradigm of the “distanced consumption” as the only safe consumption model. Consumers can buy products protected from risks, in the peace of their homes. Especially those with greater economic means and better access to technology seem to prefer this way of shopping and this is why I derived the concept from the “conspicuous consumption” theory introduced by Veblen.
Which other instrument guarantees better remote access to products and services, if not the web?
That’s it. Period. Traditional (physical) retail to have entered a process of irreversible decline.
But is this really the case?
A recent research by Kearney has shown that about 81% of GenZ still prefer to shop in physical stores, even though e-commerce remains the most selected channel. According to the results of this research, traditional shopping allows young people to discover other products more effectively than the digital world and enable GenZ to disconnect, at least temporarily, from social media. Brand flagship stores stand out in the ranking of the most loved shopping formats.
McKinsey, too, through a recent survey focused on grocery sector, explains how consumers have massively turned to online shopping driven by the COVID emergency. Online sales scored record growth rates, in Italy, even by up 100%. But the trend is momentary and return to physical shopping is expected, with negative outlooks for the percentage of online sales in almost all EU-5 countries.
The record shows, therefore, that the next big real thing will be omnichannel shopping, in which online and offline shopping experiences merge into an “infinite customer journey”. The consumer will move fluidly between digital and physical shopping formats. Likely, the conclusion of the purchasing process will progressively move online, but the level of service guaranteed to shoppers will have to be structured in such a way to replicate the physical experience online, while the in-store experience will have to be totally integrated with the digital one.
@Munogu we believe that the near future of retail will be the Omniexperience, well beyond pure omnichannel.
Omniexperience represents a “frictionless, unified and highly engaging” shopping experience, designed around consumer’s needs, where all the “touch-points” are connected thanks to Technology, Marketing and CRM.
“The store” will be transformed into an “agorà”, i.e., an open platform, within which all consumers may experience and discover products and then buy where they prefer. The flagship store must also turn the values of the Brand it represents into tangible experiences.
The final objective on the omniexperience strategy is the creation of a greater value for Companies, through the maximization of the Customer Lifetime Value (on-life customer).
To cope with the requirements of Omniexperience, the physical retail space will have to take on the connotation of a “deeply experiential context”.
By no means should this experiential context simply become a space filled with technologies that are an end in themselves and unconnected, as if they were a pure divertissement to provide interesting ideas for PR offices.
Following the “hidden technology” paradigm, a theory that has always inspired Munogu’s solutions, to be successful technology must be put at the service of the consumer without ever becoming invasive. Overwhelming and not user-centric approaches will otherwise create an over-complex environment that goes against the logic of a fluid shopping experience, that is required by the omni-experience business model. To be effective, the “wow effect” must be conceived with the only objective of converting, not of merely surprising our customers.
Unfortunately, little time is left to companies to re-model their obsolete customer journeys. The market environment has now become impervious and totally unpredictable.
Already back in 2019, taking only the Fashion Industry as an example, customer retention rate was close to 91% for those retailers with effective omnichannel strategies while it stopped at 39% for players without an omnichannel approach.
The “new normal” will open a further furrow between companies that are able to meet consumers’ changing habits and those that will simply sit and watch the number of their stores and their market shares shrink.
To speed up the transformation process, it is necessary to quickly acquire the tools and the knowledge to ensure a transition toward the “omni-experience” model, while maintaining a positive ROI.
This innovation process must start with the implementation of new technologies for retail analytics.
As for digital also for retail “data” are becoming the cornerstone of every strategic decision: advanced retail analytics must be quickly integrated into the infrastructure to obtain irrefutable information about the target, its purchase funnel inside the store and about the performance of retail spaces and their layout.
Thanks to its ability to combine in a single AI-tool advanced retail analytics services (biometric and non-biometric) and unique, simple and innovative in-store experiences, that put in constant relation the physical with the digital, Kiosk, the omni-experience enabling technology suite by Munogu, has earned a prominent place in the Microsoft Technology Center in Milan and a prestigious clientele that includes, among others, FCA, Scavolini, Breil, Porsche US and Poste Italiane.
Start your omniexperience revolution today, as tomorrow it will be too late.
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Mon - Fri: 10am - 18pm