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Retail stores are dead, long live media stores!

It’s now obvious,  traditional retail stores are about to die or to transform themselves in media stores. Why? Online sales represent 10%* of retail transactions worldwide, and even more in China, where online shopping reaches first quarter 2016 12,5%**. Besides, forecasts are good: global online sales will gain 30% by 2018***
Indeed…Why should I go to a store to buy a product when I know that Amazon will deliver my favourite sneakers at my door front in the 4-coming hours? Why going to the grocery store when mobile applications like Instacart offer me to do my shopping and drop it in front of my door within an hour? No more stores for me, sorry.
It’s time for retail to re-invent the purpose of stores. Instead of focusing on sales, they should focus on experience. Their new mission will be to magnify the products and the experience associated with them. Stores will become media points where brands will be able to express their story and create excitement about what they are. Besides, the more omnichannelistic they will be – meaning serving customers with same quality through all their favorites channels (including unfortunately vendors and competitors) – the better they will succeed. Whatever channels, locations or devices, the most important is now to create the most-convincing experience to then generate sales.
But, how to make it sound serious to retail management when “Let’s focus on experience rather than sales” today means for CFOs : “Let’s waste my money!”
Fortunately, there is a huge ecosystem of proximity technologies emerging.
These companies provide precise and relevant tools able to to quantify the efficiency of your “experience venue”: anonymous facial recognition, mobile ID tracking, beacons, RFID, and more. You will be able to recognize who is entering your store, to know how long he spent in the store and which areas he visited, and to  synchronise this data with your CRM and POS software, online cookies or tracking system to know if he finally buys your products, and from which channels.  No waste of money, time, or energy, you will instantly know if your “experience” is worth it.
With boldness, creativity and strong metrics, retail stores may not die.
Let’s see in the coming years in which stores I will keep going to experience shopping !
Ubudu Asia, we provide in-store proximity interaction services. If you want to know more about, please feel free to contact us.
Sources:
*2016 Trends, Retail Touchpoint
**China Online Shopping Market, iResearch Global
***https://www.statista.com/statistics/222128/global-e-commerce-sales-volume-forecast