E-commerce has changed shopping habits, and some bricks-and-mortar retailers have been shuttered as a result. But retailers are finding a way to compete, banking on experiential retailing — turning stores into brand and product showcases that offer omnichannel shopping experiences — as a way to avoid the internet apocalypse.
The purpose of these types of stores is to generate brand excitement. Retailers also are using them to engage new customers, particularly millennials, in different ways. Retailers realize they can offer experiences that virtual stores can’t, such as listening to live music, trying on clothes and dining.
Digital-native brands are jumping in, too. Farfetch, an online fashion retailer, offers a bricks-and-mortar store in London where customers receive a sign-in screen to search their purchase histories and wish lists. They offer smart mirrors in fitting rooms to let shoppers view different sizes and products. Shoppers can even pay for their purchases from the dressing room, Forbes.com reports.
Commercial experts note that experiential retailing will work best in certain locations, likely near major transportation areas and high-density residential and commercial districts. “Be prepared for more department store closures, as well as the closures of many other mall staples,” Forbes.com reports. “They’ll be replaced by smaller stores and digital-native brands like Warby Parker, Buck Mason, Glossier and Revolve (to name a few) that are seeking to add the convenience and experiences that come with bricks-and-mortar locations.”