The GAP, Jacob, Target, Mexx, Future Shop – these are some of the many, well recognized brand names, with a successful history in retail, who have either completely folded or are in the process of drastically cutting down on their locations in 2015. News of store closures like these are no longer shocking to hear, and in fact expected. The retail landscape is fast changing and we’re in the midst of determining how it will evolve.

Retail used to be fairly simple.

Before all the social media platforms, the prevalence of online shopping and mobile phones, shoppers would head to their local mall, browse through stores and in the process figure out which ones they had an affinity for and become loyal customers to the brands that suited their taste. They would then frequent these stores to upgrade their wardrobe or take advantage of sales during key times, like black friday. With a simple rewards program and occasional incentives, retailers could easily stay on top of mind with their customers and keep them coming back.

It’s not so simple anymore.

Fast forward to today and the retail landscape has changed considerably. Customers can shop online or in-store, they can find out about sales through e-mail, mobile messages, social media, along with word of mouth, and they can check for prices in real-time using their phones, before making a decision to buy. Store traffic has also slowed down dramatically over the years. Cushman and Wakefield, a retail commercial property manager, reported traffic across their malls of 35 billion in 2009, which went down to 17 billion in 2013. It appears that customers are less into browsing, and more into purposeful shopping now.

But it’s not all doom and gloom.

Over 85% of sales still happen in-store and it remains the preferred method of shopping for consumers. But as they become more purposeful with their buying habits, brands will need to find better ways to engage them and build brand affinity to keep them coming back. The ability to do this effectively lies with customer identification – the future of retail marketing. Through customer identification solutions like Lucova’s, retailers can deliver a personalized experience like never before, which taps into the unique preferences of each customer and enables meaningful staff interaction with them. This in turn will drive customer loyalty and sales.

 

Sources: PwC 2015 Retail Study, Time Trade