Getting the physical store future ready

Published on Wed, 15/08/2012, 02:00:33

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Price, product range and having products in stock are the three key drivers that will get shoppers in-store, according to research from Monash University’s Australian Centre for Retail Studies (ACRS).

The new research, presented at ACRS’s recent Retail Thought Leadership seminar, looked at the role of the physical store within the context of multichannel retailing, and explored what customers are looking for in the store of the future.

“Our survey found 75 per cent of shoppers rated these factors as extremely important in their decision of where to shop,” Selma Mehmedovic of the ACRS said.

“The interesting thing about this result is these factors are commonly seen as the main advantages of online retailing over bricks-and-mortar stores.”
In contrast, the least important factors were whether the store offered educational or entertaining events, and the use of mobile devices and social media in-store. Less than 10 per cent rates this extremely important in choosing where to shop, demonstrating these factors are not sufficient to drive store traffic in the absence of a good retail offer.

But while technology remained low on the list, consumers did show interest in embracing new channels if retailers were to offer them in-store.
The research found the most useful features consumers were looking for in the stores of the future included mobile devises such as maps and coupons and in-store kiosks where they could access information to make purchases and even undertake virtual try-ons.

According to the research interactive maps to assist with locating products and the ability to order online and pick-up in store where by far the most useful store experiences aspects.

Gen Ys particularly liked the ability to ‘click and collect’ with 40 per cent finding it a highly appealing option.

“The research found 91 per cent of respondents rated interactive maps to assist with locating products as important to the shopping experience,” Mehmedovic said.

“Interestingly this figure was just as high for older generations as Gen Y.”

The ability or order online and pick-up in store also rated highly with 84 per cent of respondents while interactive kiosks providing inspiration and ideas were met favourably by 77 per cent of respondents.

“For the brick-and-mortar store to survive it is important retailers understand fully the type of in-store experiences consumers require,” Mehmedovic said.

“They have to offer experiences they cannot get online.”


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