Brick and Mortar of the Future: Retail Innovators Use Technology for a Human Touch
Products alone are no longer enough to attract customers into a traditional brick-and-mortar store. The retail community is well aware that e-commerce giants offer a convenient service at low prices that save customers time and money. That is not to say physical retail cannot offer services that online vendors are unable to provide though.
Pressure has been put on retailers to become more than just a location to buy goods. Increasingly, physical retailers are using their properties to their advantage by creating moments that can only be experienced in person, and by emphasizing the importance of customer service and convenience.
These three companies have made strides in the past year to give incentive to customers to put away their computer and shop in a brick-and-mortar once again.
Casper made headlines recently with the unveiling of its new Dreamery in Manhattan, New York. Guests can rent nap pods for a 45-minute midday rest, and even change into Casper’s pajamas to completely immerse themselves into the Casper brand, exactly what the company is looking for.
Not only did the Dreamery become a social media sensation, it allowed customers to try out Casper products in an organic way.
Warren Buffett says "If you don't find a way to make money while you sleep, you'll work until you die." Mattress #startup Casper makes money ON sleeping! They just opened the #CasperDreamery in NYC where you can grab a 45 min power nap in a sleeping pod for $25. #Zzz #innovation pic.twitter.com/dKwn6t0sXE
— Hal Marston :^ (@BirdBrayn) August 6, 2018
We take sleep seriously. That’s why we created The Dreamery—a magical oasis where you can relax and recharge on-demand. No, seriously.
— Casper (@Casper) July 11, 2018
You snooze, you win. The Dreamery at @Casper has the most relaxing atmosphere and welcoming staff. Bless up @classpass for having this on your roster. #ClassPass 💤💤💤 #ICameISawINapped pic.twitter.com/4GI5SH7scB
— tina jain 👩🏽💻 (@tweeterjain) August 7, 2018
Wal-Mart has become one of the most innovative companies in the United States recently. It has made moves to build relationships with global tech leaders and increased its e-commerce initiatives in order to stay competitive with Amazon.
In its stores, it has been focusing on efficiency. While not directly working with customers, the Bossa Nova-built robotic aids ensure that shelves are constantly stocked so that shoppers come to expect the same experience each trip to the store.
Last week, the company announced plans to implement more robots in the name of efficiency. The Alphabot will assist customers who place online orders for pick-up. The new robotic assistant will retrieve groceries and goods, and also allow human associates to spend more time focusing on other tasks.
#Robot from Bossa Nova at Walmart. "In two minutes, it can image 80 feet of aisle, capturing a whopping 2 terabytes of raw data scanning a 100,000-square-foot-plus store." https://t.co/euHUGPVpgb pic.twitter.com/6OFa9wbsqU
— ZukunftdesEinkaufens (@ZukunftEinkauf) June 19, 2018
— Chuck Brinkman (memorial) (@ChuckBrinkman) November 14, 2017
For years, Lowe’s has been experimenting with virtual reality and holographic assistance. Last year, the hardware provider rolled out a digital way-finding service that makes the shopping experience more efficient for customers.
More recently, the company has entered the augmented reality space. On its app, users can project applications like grills and refrigerators into their kitchens at home to see what the product will look like on the spot.
— Lowe's Media (@LowesMedia) March 23, 2017
— Lowe's Media (@LowesMedia) July 30, 2018
E-commerce giants have made a name on low prices and ease of purchase. However, these three physical retailers are showing there is still value in the human experience, even if it involves the latest technology. By blending the two, brick-and-mortar retail can carve a new niche and survive in the days of Amazon.
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