One of the classic ad lines is”don’t leave home without it” which David Ogilvy penned for American Express 40 years ago. I asked myself how the line would have been written today as I read a study from Accenture on shopping and retailing. It’s called From Retail to “Me-tail” and you can read it here if you are interested in their take. These points really caught my attention:
• Stores as we know them will no longer be relevant—many shoppers will never even visit one
• Consumers will be able to shop seamlessly across multiple channels—and expect to find relevant content on all of them
• “Fast fashion” will be the de facto industry standard—with dramatic consequences for store inventory levels
• Supply chains will be optimized across the full product lifecycle—right through to disposal
• Consumers themselves will help form the communities of talent required to service a vast diversity of new and constantly shifting demands
That first point has profound implications. What will take the place of retail outlet? I can’t see Main Street populated by warehouses or shipping centers. The truth is that as my family’s shopping habits have shifted to online, we leave the house far less often to hit the stores other than the supermarket. Ogilvy’s classic line works less well when consumers don’t leave home at all, at least not to shop.
What can retailers do? I like one site’s take on the study:
Ensuring consumers are comfortable and confident wherever they make purchases is critical for brands as they bridge their online and offline experiences. The comfort of brick and mortar stores can easily be replicated online with the right tools and tactics. And, brick and mortar will continue to become more like online via their use of analytics and in-store digital tools that enhance the customer experience. Once these types of strategies are in place, customer satisfaction will improve along with the retailer’s bottom line.
That makes sense to me. You?