EXPERIMENTAL STORES VS ONLINE SHOPPING
Have you ever been in a store to buy a thing and all you had was just that, things to buy? Go in, get it and leave? Well, that kind of transaction is not enough for some brands, especially the big ones, that want you to have a complete and unforgettable experience while you are in the store. Maybe have a beer and draw a picture, watch a DJ do a set, skate on a skating rink.
Is it a coincidence that experimental stores are developing and expanding at a time when traditional retail is dying and online shopping is easier and more popular than ever? We don't think so.
The creativity surrounding the creation of experimental stores is creating a community space where people congregate, where people will socialize, adding extra value to any possible purchase.
We will not mention one after another the advantages and disadvantages of online shopping and the traditional way of buying. We want to give a twist to a futuristic and at the same time current theme that, without a doubt, covers many of the dilemmas of our time. As if the abundant use of new technologies will bring us closer to a transcendent evolution or will keep us away from humanity.
The aspect of online shopping was an interesting pendulum swing, especially when in 2017 and 2018 commercial spaces were dying, people were closing stores, companies were going into bankruptcy. The continuing "apocalypse of retailing" forced all those in the retail business to question the value of their physical stores.
Nike and Adidas - among many others - are some of the great players of sneakers and sportswear producers leading the way in experience-focused retail. Late last year, Nike opened a new giant store in New York that features an indoor mini basketball court, a treadmill in front of monitors that simulate races in amazing places around the world and a small soccer field.
The social aspect of shopping has to be taken into account. People crave human interaction and, as the world becomes more digital, sometimes that need for advice, confidence in decision making and romanticism in the shopping experience are invaluable and not even the most complete online retailer will be able to overcome that.
The brand is no longer just reflected in the product, but the store where it can be found. The physical environment provides added value. Stores serve as showrooms that drive customers to buy online. They serve as fulfillment points for e-commerce operations. Stores are billboards for any fashion brand.
Some ideas follow the trend that physical stores will be logistics centers for online business, but the future is difficult to predict. Perhaps the most likely scenario is a combination of both worlds. The concept of shopping has changed and while technology will mark the evolution of shopping in commerce over the next few years, physical stores will also evolve by providing a closer, warmer type of service focused on the customer experience.
The race is to design the store of the future, with brands investing in innovation labs and launching bold and fantastic retail experiments in their quest for identity in the age of e-commerce.