DeAnn Campbell, director of retail strategy and development at Harbor Retail, spoke about the evolution of omnichannel on this episode of MarketScale’s Retail Podcast. Harmonic Retail™️ is a concept developed by Harbor Retail to address the changes retailers face in today’s marketplace.

“Harmonic Retail is all about flexibility and staying in tune with the customer,” Campbell said. “It’s responsive to the customer. It asks all those channels to adapt and flex to stay in tune with the customer as they move along that path to purchase.”

Creating unexpected shopping experiences are a way companies are using Harmonic Retail. Campbell cited a recent IKEA example where they set up a popup store inside a subway station in Asia to introduce their brand to a new set of potential customers.

“Our country’s annual growth rate is at an all-time low,” she said.

This low birth-rate means a dearth in tomorrow’s shoppers. Retailers need to extend their brand to all generations, including nontraditional markets. One of the essential tools for retailers is stores.

“E-Commerce needs stores,” Campbell said.

But the role of the traditional brick & mortar store has evolved. Campbell said stores should be used in conjunction with online ordering, and that process must be fluid. People may order online and pick up at the store. People may browse the store and then shop that same store online.

“The truth is, in harmonic retail, you may never sell an item in the store,” she said. “However, that store is integral to that eventual online store purchase.”

One example of Harmonic Retail changing a traditional shopping experience was Nordstrom’s, which Campbell said recently rolled out a new fitting room in a newly opened New York store. These modular, portable, fitting rooms include smart mirror technology, with adjustable lighting, call buttons to engage with a sales clerk, and iPads to check out different colors and sizes.

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