VMSD - November 2015 - (Page 4)

GuEst EdItORIal Digital Dollars Physical retail isn't disappearing, it's just evolving. In this ever-evolving world of retail, creating a customer experience that balances the new with the familiar is the ultimate in consumer-engagement exercises. For my session at the International Retail Design Conference this year, I explored the connection between the customer retail experience and new ways we're using payment technology. At the heart of retail is the constant - experiences we seek out of familiarity. People yearn for the tangible connection and the sense of community, so it's not surprising that 90 percent of retail transactions are conducted in stores. The difference now, however, is people using their smartphones to research products online and utilizing "mobile pay" apps in stores. Representing and adequately merging the brick-and-mortar and virtual retail realms is the biggest challenge for retailers. Companies like Macy's have successfully created a presence in both locations: Its physical stores now cover 12 times the geographic footprint of Amazon's massive fulfillment centers (a stat that made me pause). Clearly, stores aren't going away. Instead, they're evolving to coexist with the increasing shopping opportunities online. By 2020, the average shopper will manage 85 percent of their relationship with a retailer without once interacting with another human. We're already realizing this prediction with apps from retailers like Starbucks, whose customers can order a personalized drink on their smartphone, pay for it within the app, and then quickly grab their beverage from the pick-up counter and go. Sites like Instacart make shopping from physical stores an online experience: A customer can shop online for groceries from Whole Foods during their lunch break, then have them delivered in time for dinner that evening. With these advances in convenient shopping, how do we ensure that physical stores will remain relevant? They must continue evolving. The more connected and digitally integrated the retailer, the more successful and engaged they are with customers. To better identify with shoppers, retailers must utilize targeted messaging, another trend that continues to advance. The fact is that we're social beings, and retail is a social encounter. Just as social trends change, the constant in retail has always been - and always will be - change. How we define both in the future will probably change, too. Sharon Lessard Retail Practice Area Leader, Gensler 4 NOVEMBER 2015 | VMsd.cOM http://www.VMsd.cOM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - November 2015

VMSD - November 2015
Contents
Guest Editorial
VMSD Editorial Advisory Board
The Goods
Next Store
Everyone’s Eyes on You
Suit Up
A Lighter Shade of Green
Design in the Heart of Texas
Showroom
Ad Index
Checking Out

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