A recent article in the Harvard Business Review outlines the latest strategy for physical retail locations to compete with online retailers and thrive in uncertain times.
Online retailers offer consumers time well saved. The convenience of placing an order online, and getting the product when it’s wanted, makes online shopping a quick and easy option for consumers. Physical retailers may have a difficult time competing in this way. However, there is one thing they can provide that an online retailer cannot: time well spent.
Retailers can transform their physical space to create a dynamic, engaging experience so consumers find it worthwhile to expend the extra time and effort to visit a physical location. This concept applies to malls, shopping centers, stores and any other type of retail location. When consumers spend more time shopping, they spend more money, too.
Some physical retailers are investing heavily in this concept. Eataly, a Milan-based retailer, offers cafés, restaurants and cooking schools inside their stores, which primarily sell Italian groceries and kitchenware. Ulta Beauty is also finding success with the time well spent strategy. Their in-person experience is more akin to a spa than a retail location – consumers can get a facial, test different fragrances, and try on lipstick with friends. The result is that their physical location becomes a destination. Shoppers want to go there, instead of viewing shopping as a chore.
Longtime Directory of Major Malls/ShoppingCenters.com subscriber PLAYTIME, a designer of unique and innovative play areas, is yet another example of how creating engaging experiences drives revenue. When kids have a fun, dynamic place to play, adults are free to spend more time shopping. Further, these one-of-a-kind play areas attract kids and parents on their own, increasing in-store and shopping center foot traffic and maximizing “return on engagement.” Creating these kinds of memorable experiences keep consumers coming back.
Physical retailers have an incredible advantage over online retailers when it comes to offering time well spent. Those that are best at staging experiences will not only survive in uncertain times but thrive in a changing retail landscape.
For retail strategy, comprehensive shopping center and major mall data helps you pinpoint the competition while tracking important industry trends for informed decision-making.
You can read the full Harvard Business Review article here: https://hbr.org/2017/12/shoppers-need-a-reason-to-go-to-your-store-other-than-buying-stuff.