With physical retail, this is the big question: Is it worth keeping brick-and-mortar stores open in the digital revolution era?
And the answer seems to be a definite yes, as stated by recent reports such as ATKearney‘s On Solid Ground: Brick-and-Mortar is the foundation of Omnichannel Retailing and the even more recent PwC‘s Total Retail 2016, and confirmed by the recent incorporation of Amazon and other online retailers to the physical store trend.
Both reports from ATKearney and PwC agree in the essential message: brick-and mortar stores are key for the Omnichannel Shopping Journey, even if the final transaction is committed online.
And each successful transaction is the result of the correct development of the whole journey through the several channels that the retailer offer to the customer. In this journey, the brick-and-mortar store plays a key role, even if the final transaction is committed online.
It is clear that, as of the date of the study, store is still the preferred channel in average for the Trial, Purchase, Pickup and Return steps, and clearly the preferred one when talking about fashion-like items: when buying apparel, health&beauty or furniture, the physical store is the clear winner.
Brick-and mortar stores are key for the Omnichannel Shopping Journey, even if the final transaction is committed online
In its more recent study, PwC gets a little bit deeper, and 2 of the 8 key findings in his report over 5 continents, 25 territories and 23,000 online shoppers refer to the key role of the brick-and-mortar store in the Shopping Journey:
And when they dive into the factors that make the store influence the customer Shopping Journey, a strong conclusion appears:
Knowledge and influence of Sales Associates are the principal factors in the customer experience in the store
This conclusion is fully aligned with the ones of the other study: the store is key in the value creation process, and in the core of this value creation, the Sales Associates plays the starring role. Opposed to the traditional approach, where the Sales Associates appeared just as check-out helpers, now they appear as a fundamental role in the value creation process, enriching the customer’s Shopping Journey, and boosting the conversion rate.
In this context, scheduling the right Sales Associates in the right moment at the right place becomes a priority in the store execution.
In future posts, we will show you how orquest can help you boost the productivity of your sales associates, while restraining your labor costs.