Imagine the Possibilities; the Role of Virtual Reality in the Future of Retail
From my perspective, having seen the profound significance of Ecommerce back in the mid-1990s, the retail industry resists change as much as the next guy. Change is very difficult and as mentioned earlier, for the retail industry over the last 25 years, Ecommerce has been the equivalent to learning an obscure foreign language.
But, all of a sudden, the world is learning very personally that even though we are quarantined at home, anyone anywhere in the world can access just about anything with the right technology. As far as I can see, this trumps all other selling venues: one central location that displays all your products which anyone can come to from anywhere.
Potential customers are coming to you from all over the world. You don’t need a store or many stores; you don’t need the expense of printing and sending catalogs. All you need is a good idea, email addresses, functioning links and social media accounts. A little budget for online media buying takes you a long way. For $10 you can generally land 500-1,000 impressions.
Technology Will Create Our Greatest Fantasies Online and In-store
I imagine that very soon major retail brands are going to create truly unique visual and emotional experiences through the brand’s website. The Flagship location should be the website; flagship being the location that best shows off the full array of the brand’s products and clearly personifies the brand’s state of mind.
Ever since the late 1950s the sign of retail success has been to have as many brick and mortar locations as possible. This growth was fueled by the shopping center industry which was populating the country and the rest of the civilized world with state-of-the-art retail emporiums.
The more popular the brand became, the more the need to spread geographically through local malls to give more access to the product. Building more and more stores demonstrated more and more popularityand brand success. Building brand recognition in new markets was easily facilitated with local print advertising.
Now there is access to shopping 24 hours a day, from retailers around the world all from my kitchen table. During the early stages of the pandemic of 2020 Ecommerce was pretty much the only game in town. Now, and rightly so, everyone who offers any product or service is scrambling to figure out how to dress up the website to be able to interact with customers. It is my opinion that a budget allocated to build and maintain a new store location would be substantially more productive if fed into the online presence of the Brand.