Clicks vs. Bricks: How Online Shopping is Shaking Up Retail

Between the ease of online shopping and the timeless allure of well-designed brick and mortar stores, consumers now have more exciting ways to shop than ever before. Online giants and Direct-to-Consumer brands make it easy for people to shop from the comfort of their home… almost too easy. In the era of online shopping, how can brick and mortar stores compete with the convenience of Amazon and the like? Here’s a hint: it’s all about creating an unforgettable experience. Read on for our take on how online shopping is changing the world of retail.

It’s no secret that the popularity of online shopping has given brick and mortar stores a huge run for their money. Amazon Prime passed the 100-million-subscriber mark last year, and department stores (including Kohl’s and JC Penney) felt the burn with reportedly low sales during 2019’s holiday shopping season. However, eCommerce is far from running brick-and-mortar out of business, and this newfound competition has inspired many brands to revamp their in-store experiences in order to keep up. 

Brands need to give their audience an incentive to visit a store instead of shopping online — now more than ever. One of the most effective ways to get customers into stores is to focus on creating a memorable in-store experience. Online shopping is perfect for impulse buys or quick purchases, but brick and mortar stores provide a valuable opportunity for the consumer to connect with the brand in a different way. In response to the rise of online shoppi make it like a ng, many brands have leveled up their brick and mortar stores to provide unique in-store experience that verge on entertainment.

There are countless ways that brands have created memorable in-store experiences. STORY, a department at Macy’s in Manhattan, is a retail concept that mimics magazines and reinvents its entire space around different themes every 6-8 weeks. The dynamic nature of STORY means that customers have an incentive to keep coming back to see how the space changes.

LEGO stores are filled with interactive ways for guests to play with LEGOs, staying true to the brand’s creative nature. The London LEGO store — the largest one in the world — includes attractions like the “Mosaic Maker”, which lets guests create a LEGO portrait of themselves, and a life-size LEGO replica of a London Underground train car.

Yoga and athleisure brand Lululemon takes a different angle with their in-store experience — education! Not only is the store decked-out in trendy decorations to cultivate that famous Lululemon atmosphere, but employees regularly clear the floor and roll out yoga mats for free yoga classes. The stores also host other events such as workshops and fitness classes with local trainers. That’s a great way to get people into Lululemon — and it’s pretty hard to resist picking up a pair of leggings after the class is over, too.

The in-store experience should never be overlooked as an important touchpoint between the brand and consumer. Brands have the opportunity to provide a great deal of value to the consumer through a well-crafted experience. All brands working on an in-store experience should decide what type of value this experience will bring to the consumer — entertainment, education, insta-worthy backdrops, or something else? It’s up to each unique brand to decide what works best for their goals. And remember — always make sure the in-store experience stays true to the brand.