Despite the proliferation of multichannel retail, the store remains pivotal to the shopping experiences of consumers.
This was the overriding message from Drapers’ multichannel roundtable at the Haymarket Hotel in London, in association with Clipper, K3, Vouchercodes.co.uk, and WMPS, last week.
Delegates from retail businesses including East, Browns, Karen Millen and Phase Eight were all in attendance, along with those from brands such as MiH Jeans and pureplays including BrandAlley and Girl Meets Dress, all of whom came together to discuss how their multichannel proposition was developing.
Te bricks-and-mortar retailers and the brands present collectively agreed the store was the binding that brings their multichannel operation together.
This was echoed by the findings of our own consumer survey, which found that the store was the most popular channel to both browse [80%] and complete purchases in [68%].
Online was of course still popular, representing 70% and 26% respectively, but it just goes to show that far from being dead in the water, bricks and mortar is alive and well.
However, neither should it be a standalone channel. Our survey found that the majority, 65% of shoppers, use more than one channel in the buying process.
Today’s multichannel reality does mean that store staff need to be well trained in the face of consumers that have access to product knowledge on their own devices. But by introducing in-store technology retailers can not only bridge the gap between channels but also empower staff by giving them access to the same information customers can access, as well as the ability to access the full catalogue should a product be out of stock.
So it’s heartening to see that rather than being sidelined, the store sits squarely at the heart of many multichannel operations, as a place where a consumer can come to physically experience a retailer or brand in its own environment.
Our full multichannel report will be available to download free to subscribers on drapersonline.com on September 28, and the write-up of our round-table event will be published on the same date as part of Drapers multichannel magazine.