Want to know the secret to the survival of brick-and-mortar retail stores?
You’re probably thinking, if you already know the secret you must be the richest person alive.
Some small players in the digital game such as Google, Facebook and Amazon have all dubbed the physical retail space as the ‘Holy Grail’ of disruption, and for good reason too.
For those of you who haven’t heard the story of the holy grail, it’s the cup from the last supper, the cup of eternal youth in Indiana Jones, the item everyone seeks, that everyone desires.
It’s the cup that’s been out of the reach of many who have committed their lives to a journey to find it.
Personally, I’ve been dedicated to this journey for over 5 years and my vision hasn’t changed. But, for my vision to become a reality, I need the support of retailers en masse, consumers en masse and of course mass amounts of funding and guidance from experienced investors.
So, instead of hoping for all of the above, I’ve decided to give you the map, deciphered scriptures and keys to the sacred chambers that will no doubt help those who search, finally reach the holy grail.
Or at the very least you may buy into my vision, throw some cash at me, and I may finally achieve what I’ve sacrificed so much for…
So, enough rambling and onto the facts!! And then yes….. the secret!
Fact 1: The problem for Google, Facebook and Amazon…… is really the biggest problem for our brick-and-mortar stores.
You’re probably thinking if these guys can’t crack it, nobody will.
The reality is they will all crack it at some stage. But the result will be undesirable for the fate of thousands upon thousands of retail stores around the world and the estimated 10% of the population that work there.
- Google– let’s get one thing clear… google index websites… websites compete with stores… website stores distribute faster, have less overheads, carry more stock etc — the list goes on and on and on. The solution Google provides won’t be a brick-and-mortar store solution, it will be a physical space solution. Brick and mortar stores will still compete with online and when they both go Omni-channel, online will have the clear advantage.
- Facebook– please refer to Google. Facebook is a little different. Facebook is a network to connect with friends and provide a framework for applications that could achieve what’s needed to revive brick-and-mortar stores. Facebook is the front runner but I still can’t get past that it’s a network to connect with friends, not a dedicated shopping solution.
- Amazon– there’s a chill in the air whenever anyone mentions amazon to retailers; and it’s the chill of DEATH. Amazon are already experimenting in the physical space but we all know it’s agenda. Amazon owns the game, not you; so, get out before you’re eaten alive! Amazon’s not here to save, it’s here to conquer. Alright; enough said. I can feel the bead of Jeoff Bezoz’s terminator laser eye on me now.
To summarise fact 1; the big 3 aren’t your saviour.
Fact 2: Innovate, Integrate and Evolve!
Three very important words for any business, and all three should be researched, understood and pursued with clear understanding of outcomes and realistic goals.
When we think retail innovation we think of technologies like IoT, AI, VR, AR, NFC – and if you don’t, you should!
We think of integrated digital experiences, live data lead decision, frictionless payments, mobile checkout, automated delivery and augmented home shopping.
Retailers should invest in their customers’ experience, but retailers need to do so with one very clear understanding…..
Retailers don’t own a customer’s experience anymore……. the customer owns their retail experience.
Let me explain:
- Before the internet…. people roamed the earth looking for goods, those goods were dictated by what was stocked at a retail store. This happened for decades. Retailers owned their customers experience.
- Post internet: enter the age of mobile. Smart phones shifted the paradigm, customers are no longer restricted to browsing what’s in your store. Not happy?…. google it. Can’t find what you want?…. buy it online from somewhere else. Their retail experience isn’t restricted to your store. More importantly, all the tech jargon we mentioned before is all controlled by the consumers phone…. if it’s good enough they’ll use it, but only as long as they want to.
Conclusion for fact 2: Consumers own the retail experience…. and they choose if you’re a part of it or not.
Fact 3: Unless your innovation gains market share from online, you’re not gaining ground, you’re treading water!
Personalisation has been dubbed the saviour for retail stores and, I must admit, I’m a believer too.
I first founded Brauz on the belief that the only way to evolve the search engine is to learn what people want before they search. Hence, we rock the tag Brauz before you search.
Personalisation is one of the keys to the holy grail, that’s a fact, but retailers have the mindset that they can do it themselves…..
Please, humour me and refer back to fact 2; consumers own their experience and you need to become a part of it, not the other way around.
Let me put it to you this way:
- For a retailer to personalise a customer’s experience, they need to be a customer. This means you’re likely to increase the value of your customer, but not win new customers from the online world. As a matter of fact, you’re still losing market share.
- As a retailer personalising their experience, your experience will only ever be limited to the knowledge you have about your customer. So, if the customer only ever shops with your store then you can achieve true personalisation. There’s only one retailer who fits this criterion, and that’s Amazon…. which is one more reason you should be focusing on innovation to win market share from Amazon, not focus all your attention on an experience that will have you compete with Amazon.
To summarise fact 3; …….. Just kidding, here it is,
Investing in increasing customer value is great, but it doesn’t solve the problem that is forcing the closing of brick and mortar stores around the world.
Fact 4: the final fact (I promise) before I unveil the great secret.
The most effective form of advertising today is digital, and digital advertising points to digital addresses, not physical store addresses.
Of all the facts this is the most frightening.
All the major retailers invest millions in digital advertising, as I mentioned when I first started on my journey it was on the realisation that only the retailers with the biggest budgets would survive, they can afford to be found on page one…… I was right and it’s been proven over the years, but what I’ve grown to learn is; they’re just as likely to die as all the others.
The harsh reality:
- All my digital advertising points to my website.
- My goal once you’re on my site is to convert a sale. I’ve invested huge amounts to be found and I don’t want to lose a customer.
- Once a customer hits my site I’d rather they buy from the site and receive delivery from a warehouse, rather than direct the customer to the store or deliver from the store itself.
- Yes, sites offer click and collect from store locations, but click and collect sale percentages aren’t a screaming saviour.
Conclusion for fact 4: digital advertising is the most effective form of adverting, and as a retailer, my digital advertising will never take consumers to a physical address over our .com.au address.
Fact is if I’m a store in a relation chain then my biggest competitor is my own companies online store.
I know the company still makes money, but, the store itself becomes a liability. Don’t believe me? Look at them closing down all around us and maybe ask the retrenched staff if they would’ve preferred some of their online sales coming through their store….?
Ok, now if you’re in retail you’re probably thinking you’re inevitably F*#KED!!
Inevitably can take some time, so don’t freak out yet. Like I said, I’ve got the secret and if you’ve stayed with me this long (there’s got to be a couple of you), you must see the credibility in what I’m saying, so stay with me!!! It’s coming!
Here we go….. THE SECRET: we need to digitalise the physical location as the destination for the shopping journey.
The physical store is the innovation that will disrupt online.
You’re probably thinking…. he’s lost his marbles!? But give me a minute and unpack everything you found credible before. Here it is again if you’ve skimmed….
Fact 1: Google, Facebook, Amazon are not stupid and are all making physical location plays.
The difference is we’ve got the advantage, we already have the stores, we’re just not using them right.
Fact 2: Consumers own the experience so let’s give it to them.
Google makes $58m a day in advertising to consumers searching.
Stores can’t afford to advertise but brands CAN.
What if we split the revenue with consumers to spend at our locations??? I’ve done the math and implemented it in Brauz. It basically means brands advertise for the stores based on legitimateclicks, consumers get rewarded for searching for products in nearby stores and even buy products for, in some cases, LESS than what they would pay online and the store still gets the full amount!
Win. Win. Win.
Fact 3: your data alone wasn’t enough to provide a truly personal experience. But now, imagine if the data of someone shopping with every store was combined to provide a truly personal experience that didn’t happen in Amazon, but instead, happened in YOUR store at exactly the right time. Perfection!
Fact 4: Retailers digital can still point to digital, but now when someone begins their search they may end up at one of YOUR physical stores, rather than one of your competitors.
To make it seamless we can even integrate customer rewards to work on your dot com site.
You see, the secret to saving brick-and-mortar stores is outside your four walls, in a solution that takes people on a personal shopping journey; where their search begins online, and ends in a brick-and-mortar store.
Come join us on our journey at https://brauz.com/signup
For retailer, media or investor inquiries please email me at email@example.com