Things are not all doom and gloom for bricks-and-mortar stores, according to researchers from Monash University’s Australian Centre for Retail Studies (ACRS). They just need to modernise.
The new research, presented at ACRS’s recent seminar Retail Thought Leadership looked at the role of the store within multichannel retailing, and what customers are looking for in the store of the future.
The research shows the key drivers to luring shoppers into stores were still price, product range and products in stock.
The survey found 75% of shoppers rated these factors as extremely important in their decision of where to shop.
“The interesting thing about this result is these factors are commonly seen as the main advantages of online retailing over bricks-and-mortar stores,” said Selma Mehmedovic, Australian Centre for Retail Studies at Monash.
While price, product range and stock availability remain the priority, consumers are interested in embracing new channels such as mobile, social media and other technologies, if retailers were to offer them in-store.
The most useful features consumers were looking for in the ‘stores of the future’ included mobile devises such as maps and coupons and in-store kiosks to access information, make purchases and even undertake virtual try-ons.
According to the research, interactive maps to assist with locating products and the ability to order online and pick-up in store were by far the most useful store experiences aspects
Gen Ys particularly liked the ability to ‘click and collect’ with 40 per cent finding it a highly appealing option.
“The research found 91 per cent of respondents rated interactive maps to assist with locating products as important to the shopping experience,” Ms Mehmedovic said.
“Interestingly this figure was just as high for older generations as Gen Y.
“The ability to order online and pick-up in store also rated highly with 84 per cent of respondents, while interactive kiosks providing inspiration and ideas were met favourably by 77 per cent of respondents.
“For the brick-and-mortar store to survive it is important retailers understand fully the type of in-store experiences consumers require,” Ms Mehmedovic said.”They have to offer experiences consumers cannot get online.”