Retail concept as a composition of touchpoints

Thursday 21 May 2015

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Retail concept as a composition of touchpoints

Although we see signs of economic recovery; retailers are still under a lot of pressure. Physical retailers are blaming international competition, online retail and the crisis, but the real problem is that they are not able to adapt to the changing shopping behaviour. The consumer nowadays is expecting a lot more , simply because it is possible..... and let me tell you; they are being served! They want to buy anyplace, anytime, anyhow: customised to their preferences and delivered to their houses at the same day. And just by one click they will share their shopping experience with the rest of the world. The information available about products is unlimited including price-comparisons, reviews and so on. How do you deal with this, being a bricks and mortar retailer?


A retailconcept starts with its right of existence. What is the relevancy of your concept in the market; which gap are you trying to fill? Clearly a successful retail-concept is no longer only a physical store where you can buy products or services. The shopping journey starts earlier and ends later. It is a well composed set of touchpoints during the entire customer journey.


Omnichannel thinking does not mean you have a website and a webshop next to the store. It means it does not matter where, how and when your customer wants to shop or simply come in contact with you there is a touchpoint available. You do not want to miss an opportunity to fulfil the needs of your customer. Whether the sale is made online or in-store should not matter.  Many retail head offices have problems with their franchisers through the cannibalisation of web shop sales on store sales. Retailers need to adjust their organisations and business models. It is no longer the sales per m2 that counts but fulfilling the need of the customer in your catchment area (offline and online), no matter what.


The function of the physical store is shifting. Urban locations can be reduced in size by offering parts of their assortment online in the store. This means smaller stores which are easy accessible and nearby for quick fulfilment. Flagship stores outside the city centre function as brand platforms where the brand comes to life through storytelling and inspiration - the focus is experience. Both stores have a different objective but fit perfectly in one concept. It is no longer multi real estate thinking, but multiformat thinking, where the choice for a real estate object depends on what you want to achieve with it and not the other way around.


This is still a fraction of what is currently going on in the changing retail landscape. But one thing is sure: the customer is changing and so should you! The retailer should redefine the retailconcept in itself. The physical store must perform in coherency with other (digital) touchpoints. The new retailfocus is to consider a retailconcept as a composition of touchpoints. Each touchpoints must play its own unique role in the complete set of tocuhpoints. Following this direction in retail, sales and content need to blend more and more.



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