Merge bricks with clicks, retailers urged
The growth of retail lies in how brands create unique store experiences, which can be enriched using data collected through their online counterparts.
That is the advice shared by Aptos’ Nikki Baird, vice president of retail innovation, and Zaki Hassan, regional vice president, to retail companies in the Philippines that are still working out their digital strategies.
Hassan says that thanks to such technologies, retailers in the country are about to enter “a period of hyper growth” in the next decade, despite the still relatively low penetration of e-commerce in today’s market.
“To prepare for this growth, retailers need to increasingly merge their brick-and-mortar and digital touch points, ensuring the most seamless experience for the consumer and the most productive and profitable use of inventory across their network,” he says.
Aptos is a retail technology provider that focuses on omnichannel and planning solutions that help companies optimize their business processes and inventory productivity, while creating an improved experience for shoppers.
One of their clients is Golden ABC Inc., the company behind local fashion brand Penshoppe.
That improved experience, Hassan says, means making smart use of all the rich information brands can gather from their online stores to better engage customers once they walk into the physical shops.
“One mistake [retailers make] is thinking that you need to make the store more like the online experience. When you take that approach, it leaves a lot of the advantages of the store itself behind. You have store associates who are very knowledgeable and friendly, and can be that face to the brand—and that part of it is very hard to kind of express online,” Hassan says.
Baird offers six ways in which retail brands can come up with in-store innovations:
Deepen your relationship with customers. “Create moments that define your brand and brand experience,” Baird says.
Offer in-store services that help improve customer shopping experience, banking on service more than the product. Baird says sneaker store The Lab in Quezon City is a good example, as it offers services for restoration and customization of shoes, which sets it apart from other footwear retailers.
Use your stores as fulfillment centers. To maximize store space, give it another purpose—say, as a delivery or pickup point for customers who buy online.
Make use of behavioral data, which you can obtain using the right technology. Such information can help brands become more aware of the products that are most popular in-store, as well as which sections customers go to most often when they shop.
Create an events or educational space inside the store that you can use to inform customers about your products.
Offer “location-only exclusives.” Similar to how online shops give out extra discounts to customers who use mobile, having location-only exclusive products and deals can make shopping in-store more attractive.
What’s great about the Philippines, Baird adds, is that while the number of online shops is poised to grow in the coming years, physical retail stores, and, specifically, malls, still have much room for growth, because they have evolved into destinations rather than just shopping spaces. —ANNELLE TAYAO-JUEGO
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