Today we speak with Devil Perini, Retail & Sales Consultant. We talk with this retail professional about the future of offline retail. He highlights that this bussines model will not disappear, but its sales will probably decrease in the following years.
Devil also mentioned the importance of investing in technologies and being aware of all the factors that influence retail performance on a day-to-day basis, such as staff training or the emotional experience offered within the retail store.
Enjoy the interview!
Retail Interview – Future of offline retail
We start by assessing the current context of the retail sector. Will offline retail disappear?
It will not disappear, but the offer will be reduced in numerical terms: fewer players, fewer physical stores. There is excess supply compared to current market demand, a rebalancing is inevitable. As always, whoever fits best will remain.
What are its defects and virtues in front of online retail?
The service, especially of the sales staff, can be a great advantage of off-line retail; even the emotionality in the store is not easily replicable online. On the contrary, online for the consumer is faster, leaner, and with more possibilities for offering goods.
What is the biggest problem or weakness that offline retail has to face?
I would said that currently the biggest problem is the cost of the structure, which has an increasing trend, against a decreasing footfall, due to the moment of general economic crisis.
In the current context, what role does technology play in retail? Highlight a current technology or innovation that you believe is setting a trend.
Technology must bring added value, but without massively affecting the cost structure; tools such as NFC are able to add information quickly and at low cost, generating advantages for both the retailer and the consumer. Moreover, developing marketing techniques linked to a more targeted use of CRM and giving more emotion to the point of sale (screens, lights, augmented reality) are essential objectives for a successful retail.
What does it take for a store to work? Is there a magic recipe?
There is no magic wand, but the set of many factors that must all be followed and optimized: deliveries, emotional product, layout, marketing, and above all relational and sales skills of the staff.
How is customer loyalty achieved?
Customer loyalty is achieved through the service, understood as the sum of: product quality, sales staff skills again, targeted marketing relationships, special commercial attention.
The service, especially of the sales staff, can be a great advantage of off-line retail.
How do you see the future of retail?
Surely, offline retail must evolve, invest in technologies as indicated above, extend its offer towards new experiences, welcome the consumer in a more emotional and reassuring way; moreover, great attention is needed to costs and margins, with leaner structures and higher markups than in the past.
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