The following article written by ForeSee VP of Marketing Eric Feinberg was first published on Forbes.
The retail industry is currently going through a very visible existential crisis. On one end, there are long-time brands closing stores and refitting showrooms to become distribution centers. And on the other? Well, to casual observers it probably looks like the equivalent of a retail version of a mid-life crisis.
Apple is creating town square meeting spaces with an absence of product shelves and registers, Nordstrom is launching full-service fashion centers with scheduled spa amenities, Whole Foods is pushing people to bypass routine visits to stores in favor of direct home delivery and, most recently, IKEA is getting into the handyman business. It’s as if these leading retail brands forgot what/who they are.
These top brands are very aware of the shifts happening with the general consumer population. Namely that the experience customers have with a retail company doesn’t exist solely inside a store or via a digital touchpoint. It’s beyond that now.
Looking at recent research, you can already see new trends in behavior among retail shoppers — and that physical stores aren’t going away. I can’t help but point out, as others have, that this whole retail apocalypse thing is a tad overblown. A recent study from Deloitte found that 56% of in-store customers begin their journey using a digital channel first, and 70% of consumers say they prefer a combination of digital and physical store options for the sake of convenience — meaning that now more than ever we’re seeing digital and store experiences working in conjunction.
But it’s not just that stores are relevant — it’s more likely that they’ve always been a useful part of the customer journey, and we’re now seeing that measuring digital’s impact on store behavior requires a sophisticated CX measurement program. Our annual retail research report revealed more interesting findings:
Read Eric’s entire article via Forbes: Explaining Retail’s ‘Mid-Life Crisis’: How Retailers Are Reforging The Customer Journey To Survive