Rapaport Magazine

Note from the publisher

By Martin Rapaport

Stores — who needs them? Who wants them? Are they worth their expense? And what about those pesky salespeople, what should they be doing? How should we be retailing in the new Amazon-driven digital world?

Stores are here to stay. In 2021, twice as many stores opened as closed. Digital brands are also finding out that online alone is not enough and are opening stores. Why?

Physical-digital integration is not just a flow from clicks to bricks to sales. It’s a whole new way of doing business; a new way of thinking. Your digital presence is not an add-on, it is your fundamental identity and must be totally integrated with your physical existence. Omni-channel does not mean different ways of doing business. It is one way of doing business communicated in different ways. Everything about you — your inventory, how to do business with you, and especially your click, buy, goodbye service — must be online and in your store. People will be browsing your inventory online while physically in your store. They don’t want salespeople bothering them — no more pushy, pushy.

The “Buy Online, Pick Up in Store” (BOPIS) generation has here-and-now expectations. They want everything fast with minimum friction. Salespeople are there to provide advice and enable digital or physical access to products; they should not get in the way of customers who don’t want to be bothered. They should get commission for digital sales.

With all this talk about digitalization, it is important to remember that our customers are physical beings. Our products are physical; they touch skin. We are not yet selling virtual rings in some metaverse. Customers might come to our store, look around and then buy from us online. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that the store is where the physical and digital worlds meet. It’s our job to integrate them so that they support each other.

We must remember that in the new technological world with our new digital consumers, no matter what we do and how we do it, we are not just in the business of selling products. Our task is to build relationships digitally and physically, online and in our stores.


Article from the Rapaport Magazine - April 2022. To subscribe click here.

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