Consumer Behavior · Startups · Trends

What will be the future of our stores in the shopping city center?!

 

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A couple of days ago I saw this message going viral on Facebook. Many people shared and liked it and there were lots of comments.  I think, this happened because of the fact that this message is telling us a true story. Yes: we are buying online, and yes we all do this very frequently…

Even I have to admit; I am doing the same thing. Last week I wanted to buy a pair of Adidas shoes. I searched online a bit first on websites like Zalando.com, but after a while I thought; Héy there is a real shoe store in my own street: The Footlocker! Why do I buy online and wait 2 – 4 workdays for my package to be delivered, at a moment when I –almost for sure- will not be home. (It happened to me too many times: missing out the Zalando-man, I HATE it!)

So after these well-overthought considerations, – resolute as I was – I walked into the Footlocker, at the corner of my street, to buy my new shoes. A more than typical Footlocker employee (READ:  40 year old bold man with a pretty potbelly, dressed in a red and black striped soccer shirt, very short and last but not least; he had very small feet put into a pair of Nike-airs.) While I wondered myself why male Footlocker-employees always have small feet, the friendly bold man searched the stockroom in the back, for my desired cute Adidas shoes in the right size. After a while the man came back with a kind of dubious and slightly worries face; unfortunately the shoe size I needed wasn’t available anymore. So, end of story: slightly disappointed I went home and immediately I slipped smoothly behind my laptop and ordered my favorite shoes at Zalando.com.

Well, what’s going wrong here?! What is the real problem? I think stores should adapt more to the wishes of their customers. And of course I understand that it’s impossible for all stores to build huge stockrooms to store thousands of pairs of shoes for inventory, in all the right sizes… But, I think: for surviving as a real shop in a time like this – where online shops as Zalando are far ahead in offering people their desired cloths and shoes – shops need to adapt more and change their way of working!

A possible future idea that can work in a great way are ‘showroom shops’.  Shops where you can fit all the cloths you like, but where you cannot really ‘buy’ anything. After fitting your desired clothes; you order online at a computer located in the store: and your package of clothes will be transported from a distribution center to your house at your perfect desired time moment. Maybe this will be even at the same day, a couple of hours later! To let this idea work, the distribution centers have to be improved by that time. So for all the stores in our city centers, I would say; there is still much work to do! Do not complain, but adapt to the customer- and market-changes. Don’t complain about consumer’s actions, but try to discover opportunities and possibilities for new ideas! Cause changing people’s behavior is one of the most difficult things to achieve…

Written by Susanne Deen

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5 thoughts on “What will be the future of our stores in the shopping city center?!

  1. I like the question, “What is the real problem?”, but I do have some follow-up questions first:

    When you found out that the shoes you wanted weren’t available in your size:
    1- Did the store clerk suggest ordering them from FootLocker.nl?
    2a- If yes, why didn’t you order them from FootLocker.nl, instead of Zalando?
    2b- If no, did you consider ordering them from FootLocker.nl, instead of Zalando?

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  2. Hi Kenneth,
    First of all, thank you for your comments! It’s always nice to have responsive people!
    To answer your questions:
    1. No, the store didn’t suggest ordering the shoes via Footlocker.nl
    2./3. Besides that, Zalando.com was the first online website that popped up in my head during online shopping! I even didn’t know that it was possible to order online at Footlocker website:)
    Hopefully, your questions are answered now! If not, please let me know.
    Kind Regards, Susanne

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  3. Hey Susanne, thanks for getting back on this!

    When you asked “What is the real problem?”, I suspected as much. I think it’s a serious flaw in the retail process that the sales rep didn’t suggest looking at FootLocker.nl or place the order together (to have it delivered at your home or at the store).

    It wouldn’t even be “innovative”. Ralph Lauren introduced “window shopping” (you could order from the website through a touch screen when the store was closed) nearly 10 years ago: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/techinnovations/2007-06-20-ralph-lauren-window-shopping_N.htm – And last year, Ralph Lauren offered interactive shopping at Bloomingdale’s: http://uk.complex.com/style/2015/06/bloomingdales-ralph-lauren-interactive-shopping

    To me, it feels like the brands/stores that are “brick&mortar first” have a lot to learn on making more of online. What do you think?

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Kenneth, I really appreciate your additional input!

      I personally think you’re totally right. However, that’s an issue that has been existing for quite some years now. But there’s a new trend which goes the other way around: companies that are very successful online try to reach their customers via the “brick&mortar” world. Think e.g. of Amazon, which is opening its first offline bookstores now and all the others who set up pop-up stores or showrooms. In my opinion, this development is way more interesting!

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      1. With so much floorspace being vacated by the bankruptcies of V&D, MacIntosh, Dixons, Perry/Aktiesport (and many others that I’ve already forgotten about), you’d almost think it’s a bad idea to open a brick&mortar store.

        Fortunately, there are also winners (and some chains continue to grow rapidly), and you make a great point. I agree that online retailers going offline is a way more interesting development. We’re seeing it here a little bit with CoolBlue as well and here’s a nice piece on the Amazon move: http://recode.net/2016/02/03/meet-the-guy-behind-amazons-secret-retail-store-plans/

        Retail is dead. Long live retail!

        Liked by 1 person

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