Traditional retail formats are evolving to meet modern consumer demands. So said a meeting last week at the CREW Network Convention, a virtual event. In a breakout session, panelists talked about how to leverage omnichannel marketing, the pros and cons of smaller and more targeted store formats, brand collaborations, pop-up stores and more.
Smita Butala, SVP for Global Real Estate and Associate General Counsel at Ralph Lauren Corp., New York's restaurant The Polo Bar, was the first time delivery was made. "Many retailers have to rethink how they can deliver the same experience to the customer."
Clinenteling became a really big deal, she said. "To find out how to sell, but meet those sales through the inventory in the store and make this journey virtual, is all about creative thinking," she said. "Bring the experience to your doorstep and still give it that one-to-one connection."
The consumer, she said, will always want the touch and feel aspects of shopping. "It's an experience and the piece of social interaction." She adds that bricks and mortar will still be relevant because people always want to step out of their home and have that experience.
"More than ever, retailers are focusing on delivering that customer service in a unique way," she said. "We just have to figure out how to integrate all of the other competing things into an ecosystem."
Many of the retailers Butala spoke to have also moved from highly touristy places and markets to local and regional consumers.
Panelist Gene Spiegelman, vice chairman and director of RIPCO Real Estate LLC, said that many of the companies that have done well online have done well in managing their goods and inventory over the past few years. “They already built that into their model. Companies that were unwilling to do so suffered from lost sales because they could not move their inventory and make it available online. "
The biggest thing, he added, is shifting the dominance of the urban market to the suburban market, as Butala mentioned. “This shift and migration from the urban center is probably one of the most dynamic changes Covid has brought about. How will this shift affect retail? Will there be open air centers life? Will there be malls that were on the B / C level, will it give them time to still exist? We have to wait and see. "
Spiegelman said we might lose a billion square feet of retail space, but the sales haven't gone away. “Where does all the inventory go? It's not that you're selling it less. It's a very complicated product. Sales are just moving. This accelerated change will be interesting. "
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