BKBG 2018 Conference workshop leader Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor) published an interesting take for the successful future of brick and mortar retailers. Manufacturers, especially those who sell premium and luxury products, are beginning to find out that selling their wares on Amazon, direct to the public or through another ecommerce channel has not been a savior. Direct to consumer supply chains require manufacturers to incur costs that historically have been relegated to brick and mortar retailers that include marketing, customer service, shipping, handling and returns. Suddenly, going direct and having new overhead costs have made many manufacturers reconsider the direct to consumer strategy.
Phibbs sites a report by RSR Research that found, “Despite business challenges, over-performing Retail Winners believe that stores will remain their most profitable selling channel.” That explains why Amazon, Bonobos, Caspar, Warby Parker and a number of other native online etailers have opened and plan to open more brick and mortar locations.
There’s another trend that also is making brick and mortar more attractive. According to Martin Lindstrom, author of Buyology, “Because of social media, we don’t meet people anymore, we don’t touch people anymore, we don’t interact with our surroundings, we don’t have neighbors anymore, we don’t know who they are. The reason why a lot of stores are doing well is because they tap into the local community, and create that sense of belonging. And suddenly, those stores are more than just a store; it almost becomes a replacement of a community center, perhaps even the church or the sports club.”
Did you hear that? That’s opportunity knocking. Could there be a better venue to engage the community and create a sense of belonging than your showroom? What can you do to transition from a place where people come to purchase gorgeous new kitchens and baths p to a central meeting place for your neighbors, clients and the trades? NetSuite Oracle and Phibbs conducted a survey that found Millennials and Gen Z are likely to do more in-store purchasing in 2019. They want more than products, they are looking for a feeling, Phibbs writes. What feelings can you deliver?