An apocalypse is upon us. No, not the zombie one. Or the alien one. Or the nuclear one (we hope). But rather – gasp! – the retail apocalypse.
Yes, marketers, brands, and customers are looking around them and realizing that nothing is the same as it once was. The advertising process has transformed, the buying process is now spread across channels, and the only way to truly understand it is by manipulating great works of fiction!
That’s why we’re presenting three dystopian stories retold for the retail apocalypse.
Brave New World (of In-Store Retail)
The year is 2018 CE or ACI 29 – “After Commercial Internet” – and brands have found themselves in a retail and marketing landscape that looks nothing like the world they’re used to. Physical stores are being shuttered, shoppers are using their mobile devices to order products from anywhere at any time, and marketers are left scrambling to keep up.
To survive, brands are rewiring their retail stores to be more digital. They’re experimenting with augmented reality mirror to help shoppers “try on” products in a flash, in-store WiFi and beacons to connect customers to special offers once they set foot in a location, interactive display screens to share up-to-date information about pricing and availability, and mobile apps to let customers navigate the space and make touch-less transactions.
It may be a brave new world, but all hope is not lost for brands still trying to find their footing. In fact, technology points to a brighter future for delivering customer experiences and driving conversions.
Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Brick-and-Mortar Store
A marketer, salesperson, store manager, and social media editor gather in a conference room, standing over a button that will put an end to brick-and-mortar stores for good and finally usher in the retail apocalypse.
But not just yet! A report from Deloitte emerges, showing that physical retail is still booming at the high and low ends of the market. In fact, over the last five years, premium retailers have seen revenues spike by 81% and low-price retailers have opened more than 4,500 stores. Mid-market retailers like Everlane and Wayfair are expanding into physical retail, while others are trying new store models like pop-ups and shared self-space. Even Amazon, one of the world’s largest retailers, is opening physical stores around the nation.
The social media editor realizes it’s time to take back his famous quote: “Gentlemen! You can’t shop in here! This is a Brick and Mortar Store!”
The Handmaid’s Email
Customers have been stripped of their identities. They’re stuck in a world of monotonous, impersonal, and boring ads. Marketers only see them as the devices and platforms they use – not as individuals with real customer journeys, behaviors, and interests. To brands, they’re just “Of-Facebook” or “Of-mobile.”
Alas, a rebellion begins with the help of one tool: email. Brands start to realize that email delivers 4X higher ROI than social media marketing, direct mail, or paid search. And they understand that having a customer’s email address can open up a world of interactions and experiences that will inspire customers to convert and engage.
They just have to figure out how to get started.