Frank Olivo: “Brick-and-mortar can provide experiences that e-commerce never will”
Today we talk about retail with Frank Olivo, CEO at Sagapixel. He is quite optimistic about the future of retail but not in its current form. He thinks that, as we spend more and more time online, people will crave more in-person experiences. “Retail can take advantage of that and technology can enhance it”. Do not miss our interview.
What do you think the post-COVID retail landscape will look like?
I’m not entirely sure, but it’s likely to be one of two scenarios. In the first scenario, people are so sick of being cooped up in the house and isolated from one another that they will return to malls and in-person retail like they haven’t in years. If this ends up being the case, retailers will likely be able to combine their pre-ecommerce era strategies with social media strategies to really drive foot traffic and sales to their stores like never before. In the second scenario, people that have developed the habit of shopping online will likely continue to do so. If this is the case, retailers will have to develop compelling reasons beyond “wide selections” or discounts to get people into their physical retail spaces. Brick and mortar will never beat the internet when it comes to product availability or discounts, so it needs to provide something that the internet can’t—experience, entertainment, leisure. Regardless of which scenario plays out, retailers need to rethink the in-store experience. Competing with e-commerce brands on convenience (one-stop shopping, etc.), selection (large inventory, etc.), or price is a losing strategy. Brick-and-mortar can provide experiences that e-commerce never will, such as opportunities to socialize and entertainment.
Brick and mortar will never beat the internet when it comes to product availability or discounts, so it needs to provide something that the internet can’t—experience, entertainment, leisure
What role will technology play?
Retailers need to focus on leveraging technology to deliver a superior retail experience. Creating in-store experiences that compel people to come into the store and share on social media will work. The challenge is to know what works and what doesn’t. Tools such as Flame Analytics can help to remove the mystery surrounding the impact of these efforts. When you run an event or make a change to your in-store experience, what are your KPIs to determine whether it’s working or not? Is it a lift in foot traffic? An increase in reach on social media? It’s critical to establish KPIs and collect accurate data to determine what works and what doesn’t.
The challenge is to know what works and what doesn’t. Tools such as Flame Analytics can help to remove the mystery surrounding the impact of these efforts
Are you optimistic about the future of retail?
Yes, though not in its current form. As we spend more and more time online, people will crave more in-person experiences. Retail can take advantage of that and technology can enhance it. We already see a hybrid of e-commerce and brick and mortar in most retail, and the winners will be the brands that best bridge those experiences. Mobile devices will enhance the in-person experience. SEO and social media will be further leveraged to generate customer awareness of what the brand stands for and the entertainment factor of the in-store experience. It’s all a matter of retail figuring out how to test and innovate the brick-and-mortar experience. Ultimately, brands that do this effectively will thrive as they adjust to what retail consumers want.