As they say in fashion, what’s old is new again. And this certainly seems to be the case for brick and mortar retail stores. Once thought to be in danger of becoming obsolete, brick and mortar stores are now viewed with newfound potential, and somewhat ironically, this is largely being driven by what was once perceived as a threat to its traditional business model: new technology. In fact, technology is providing brick and mortar retailers with innovative ways to seize strategic opportunities.
While online and mobile technologies offer consumersconvenience, speed, and ease of use, brick and mortarstores have a distinct advantage—face-to-face personalinteraction between the consumer and the associate inthe store. Leading companies are shrinking square footageand instead allocating investment and innovation dollarstoward brick and mortar business models that create asuperior shopping “experience” for the consumer.Many are leveraging technology to provide outstanding customer service and increased personalization, all in an effort to make their stores more exciting, entertaining and emotionally engaging.
It is, therefore, important not to overlook that the ongoing evolution within the retail industry contains a brick and mortar component, not just a virtual one. And while leading-edge technology may drive both, a winning brick and mortar strategy must also be underpinned by well-trained, friendly and knowledgeable associates that can deliver value to the consumer through unique, memorable, in-store experiences.Personal interaction offers opportunities to expand and enhance the strengths of brick and mortar to attract customers into the store, keep them engaged longer to encourage more purchases, and build customer loyalty.