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Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Stores Evolution – Where are the humans in this place?

The WEF 2017 report says we will see 15% of stores close in the next decade. Last year saw the highest retail closure numbers in the USA and 2019 is tipped to follow suit. Australia has a significant amount of retail space per capita and this trend seems destined to head our way. But fear not, according to Cowan and company there’s no cause to think that stores are no longer relevant, we’re seeing a shift in focus, “retailers continue to invest in top malls in the top metro areas at the expense of lower performing malls.” As retailers focus on optimising the performance of their investment in space and inventory, in this evolution of stores, I wonder, where is the human element going to fit in? No doubt about it, stores are evolving. What are customers looking for in stores? A store is now a place where you can pick up an order that you’ve bought online, try on/check the item before taking it home, return or exchange it for something that has already been delivered. It’s a place where you can have a bit of fun, some light entertainment that has you engage with the emotional story of the brand, touch and try the products before you commit. It’s a place of immediate gratification, and maybe that’s why it remains enduring and powerful as a place to (potentially) lift the spirits. A recent trip to the gorgeous space that Mecca has in the Strand Arcade would certainly support this! [caption id="attachment_6156" align="alignnone" width="300"] Mecca Strand Arcade, beautiful in-store experience[/caption] As the store evolves further it could soon become even more It could be a place that recognises you as a customer when returning to it and surface helpful information. A place that reduces the purchase friction or assists with after sales service. It could be a place where the shopping experience is not necessarily facilitated by humans. It’s not new news that allowing customers to grab and go without queues has great appeal.  The introduction of Amazon Go, and other variations on the theme, like scan and go Apps has me wondering where the human element of shopping will end up. Will stores evolve to a point where we need no humans at all? Customers just love convenience, and they are willing to give their information away (most of the time) if it means a more convenient experience. Grocery shopping is a weekly necessity and the online version has not been as successful for me as the in-store experience (I like to select my fresh produce). Thinking about cashier-less aisles and stores, they work well when it’s a quick transaction, buying a few top-up items or a quick lunch purchase. A full trolley with the family weekly shop is not compatible with the DIY checkout.  It will be interesting to see how far the cashier-less stores like Bingo Box go and whether this type of purchase process works for more complex purchases. My favourite store interactions are still dominated by a friendly and helpful human that knows the product in their store and where to find it. I see the juggle first hand working with retailers that are constantly evolving to stay relevant, using the technology that is available to them and getting their stores to evolve. The pressure is on not only to deliver quickly but at the same time to remain, customer focused. To create a curated selection that your customer is interested in, I think will still require the input of humans to create the 'newness' and 'freshness' - have you ever noticed that machine learning just keeps giving you more of the same that you've already had? It's a very exciting and interesting time that we're living through.  I believe retailers that keep a focus on the human element (particularly for that emotional purchase) will succeed, because fundamentally stores are evolving faster than humans have.

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Citizen Karen (part time fighter of crime)

I don’t really know Karen, I have never met her in real life. I don’t know what her hair colour is, or whether she has kids, or a dog, or a partner. I don’t know if she’s into sport or has a footy team that she supports, or if she prefers vodka to gin or neither. Despite knowing so little about her, I feel a connection to Karen, born of our small foray into citizen crime fighting together yesterday. (Read more)

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Why it’s so important to get Returns Right!

Last week at the Sydney Retail Tech meet up Max Ryerson (@MaxRyerson) shared with the group some of his research and insights on the future of retail. Some of the big trends that he has observed in his global consulting practice are indicating that more and more of the purchases we make in store are ‘digitally influenced’ (think browsing, research or purchase). His figures showed that in Australia we see about 50% of store purchases influenced by digital, in the USA this is now up to 80% with the forecast that this will get to 100% in the next year or two. In one of his points, he called out the importance of click, collect and returns. At 6R we’ve worked on a few click and collect projects and reviewed several returns processes, and we advocate that making the returns process easy for a customer is a win for any retailer. However, the small distinction of putting those three words running together in ONE thought /sentence was a shift. 30% of online purchases are returned. (Read more)

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Click & Collect transaction or interaction?

Target have a click & collect function on their web store and I find myself sometimes losing purpose when I go to their retail environment, so I decided to give it a go. The kids needed undies and I had seen a basket that it would be easier to just go and pick up rather than drag around the store. I finish my purchase online and as the delivery and payment options are coming up the pop up box on their web store tells me it will be up to 10 days before it’s ready for me to collect. (Read more)

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Future trends 2016 and beyond, what’s in store?

Earlier this year, here at 6R we attended a macro trend presentation (looking at big picture consumer trends). The presenters talked about ‘4C thinking’ collaborative, creative, conversational and convergent. This is not a ‘next year’ type of trend forecast but instead a bigger picture ‘stand back and take a look’ at the longer term. (Read more)

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Curation and selection – help me find the right #product

It’s been happening more frequently lately. Finding mid-shop that I have tuned out. Why am I here? What was I looking for? Have I started drooling? Is this a familiar experience for you too? (perhaps the last question is just me)… am I becoming more susceptible to the maze and haze of getting lost in the lights and not finding the product I am looking for? (Read more)

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