What will the store of the future be like? That’s an interesting question. I’ve just returned from Latin America where I offered classes and conferences. There, they wanted to know this. Over the past few days I have been in several cities across Europe. Here, too, it is an enlivening topic. People ask me repeatedly in sessions with managers about how to sell more.
People ask me wether the store will be physical, or maybe just online. They ask me how will our physical store be affected by the opening of a digital one. Will there be cannibalization -that is- a drop in sales at physical stores without an overall increase for my company? If I am a company that sells to professionals, should I be worried about this? These are all understandable because behind there is wealth and development or unemployment and contraction.
I will tell a bit about what I know on this topic, both because I have researched it firsthand carrying out hundreds of interviews all over the world and because others have done so, academics and professionals of renown and prestige.
First, everybody calm down. 60% of the time we spend shopping takes place in the physical world, and around 40% online and from catalogs. If we translate this time to the purchase value it’s even greater, around 90% in the molecular environment.
Humans spend more than planned when we go to a physical store compared to an online one (40% faced with 25%). It seems obvious that the first will not die out. Far from it; we are before an interesting, powerful asset with a lot of future ahead of it. We continue to enjoy wandering through the tangible world.
It’s true that business as usual will have to tighten its seatbelt because there is turbulence ahead. The biggest is known as omnichanneling, that is, the need to seamlessly integrate with the online version. We can no longer have various strategies (which happens when we were multichannel) but must instead have just one that covers all the points of contact with the client (omnichannel, all). Believe me, it’s hard work. Why? Because of the demand of having to design the shopping experience that we want our consumers and potential clients to have, whether it’s business with the final client or with a company oriented to sales among professionals.
And it must be done both online and offline at the same time. Unfortunately, this happens infrequently these days and for that reason, whoever does it, even timidly, stands out so much. So let’s start at the end, design what you want your clients to live and perceive.
Think of the neighborhood business that makes you feel so good (by telephone, on their modest website, and in the physical store all at once) and of that business where they are world champions of antipathy, however they interact. Which one inspires you more? Which is more omni? The future starts there.
Image: Burberry Regent Street Store