This week, Macy’s announced that the majority of its stores will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving day to kick off the holiday shopping season. This announcement left me wondering, with e-commerce, m-commerce and now t-commerce (TV commerce), is this really necessary? Do shoppers who leave their family dinner to head to Macy’s really get a better deal on gifts than those who log-in from the comfort of their couches? Maybe, and maybe not. The truth is, many of these early shoppers don’t go for the deals, they go for the experience of shopping in an environment that they love, while physically seeing and touching potential gifts for their loved ones. So while showrooming is still a very real threat to brick and mortar sales, nothing can replace the brand experience shoppers get when they are in a physical store.
So how can retailers with physical locations take advantage of this experience to drive sales? Omnichannel personalization.
With recent advancements in technology, retailers are now able to enhance the in-store experience by personalizing it for each of its customers, which – if done successfully – can increase foot traffic and purchases. So rather than competing with digital channels, retailers that incorporate brick and mortar within their omnichannel marketing efforts can paint the clearest picture of their customers and thus deliver the personalized shopping experience that shoppers have come to expect.
Take a look at this scene from Minority Report. When this movie came out in 2002, this personalized in-store experience seemed far off, but these days are upon us.
Okay, I admit the Gap hologram may still be far off, but if she was real, her understanding of shoppers’ needs would be much more valuable and much less creepy. She could use insights gleaned from online shopping habits, social activity, and more to tailor the in-store experience to a shopper’s style, price preference and even size. She could also input information from your in-store experience to ensure that email and other communications you receive outside of store walls are relevant to you.
While omnichannel is a fairly new concept, one of America’s oldest pastimes – in-store shopping – is a key aspect in completing the omnichannel puzzle. For those retailers that don’t have brick and mortar locations, don’t fret – there are plenty of ways to implement personalization across the channels you do have. The message I am trying to send is that you need to use every channel you have and be consistent to truly be an omnichannel retailer.