Insights

The Future of Retail is Still the Store

According to a recent study by the U.S. Census Bureau, the majority of sales still come from in-store purchases. Certain categories, such as books, clothing and electronics, see high percentages of e-commerce sales, but the overall message for retailers remains the same before the rise of the Internet: attention to the physical store should be a top priority in an effort to attract and keep customers.

That doesn’t mean retailers shouldn’t welcome changes to their stores. Around the same time of the release of that report came another study that revealed people are happier if they spend their money on experiences and not material goods. So what’s a store that makes and sells material goods to do? Create an experience around shopping, like B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore suggested in their 1999 book The Experience Economy. In short, Pine and Gilmore state companies must create memorable events for their customers so the memory becomes the product instead of the tangible good they purchase. It’s why you see more roller coasters springing up in shopping malls and more cafés attached to bookstores and even home goods stores.

Online shopping contributes to retail sales, but offline shopping offers an opportunity to create a lasting memory that turns a consumer into a loyal customer for your brand. How do you transform your store into an experience? PSFK, a trends research and innovation company, proposes that successful stores are the ones that leverage technology and push the boundaries of storytelling, product testing and education, two ideas that will be explored in upcoming posts.