Kiosk Solutions Issue 18 - Page 43

opinion How to successfully scale your store of the future with the right technology for the retail landscape By Healey Cypher, CEO, Zivelo – www.zivelo.com We’re at an inflexion point in physical retail experiences, and 2019 may very well be marked as a turning point. For the first time in five years, same-store sales are stable, versus declining, and breakout e-commerce brands continue to solidify their positions of growth by opening physical stores as retailers turn to their previously under-capitalised fleet of stores. After all, they were investing in the big growth of e-commerce even though over 90% of their sales still happen in physical stores. Success stories like Target, which invested $7BN in 2017 into capital improvements, are encouraging other retailers including Ulta, Home Depot and more to follow suit. For any haters/ mathematicians, while the absolute square footage of retail closures is still closing at a notable pace because of big brands like Bon Ton, Toys ’R’ Us and others shuttering their doors – retail formats are changing and actual store- count is an important counter-argument. So, now that it’s come to it, what do you do? How do you revamp your stores? Many times, when we sit down with retail executive teams considering building out the future of their store fleets, the words on the board begin to look like a TechCrunch word cloud: AR, VR, chatbots, AI and drones, seriously! But the reality should be, well, different. When considering deploying retail technology, your team’s decisions should centre around one singular ideology: human interactions must come first, and technology should come second. And that technology, by the way, should beautifully integrate into authentic store experiences. Consumer expectations are still out-pacing a lot of the retail experience of today. The retail market itself is on the cusp of massive change as it sprints to meet these demands. So, we’re going to consider ways to thoughtfully execute retail-technology solutions that enable experiences that delight customers, empower associates, provide unprecedented analytics, and measurable sales growth. Competition has changed If you look at an image of a department store in 1910 versus a department store today, not a whole lot has changed. In the mid-20th century, retail growth was booming. Top line revenue was driven by opening more and more stores with huge selections, huge square footage, great prices, and relative proximity to the customer. Proximity, selection and price were the main currencies of the 20th century retailer. As a result, we now have anywhere from 25-29 square feet of retail space for every man, woman and child in the United States. The next closest country is the United Kingdom with nine square-feet per capita. Today’s stores are competing on a completely different set of principles; according to MasterCard, over 40% of soft-goods purchasing takes place at boutique stores with 5-10 locations. As such, today’s currency is now experience, service, and urgency. And all of that retail space built in the last century? We now have an opportunity to use it in creative ways with a small footprint and low overheads. Spoiler alert: kiosks can play a big part in this creativity! KIOSK solutions 43