Brick-and-Mortar Stores Remain a Powerful Channel for the Footwear Business

The future of brick-and-mortar footwear retail remains uncertain, but business intelligence firm PSFK has shed some light on how to best adapt to the ongoing shifts.

The company’s new 2018 report on the future of retail aims to untangle upcoming market trends and provide a road map for improving the customer experience according to shopper data.

During a preview in New York, team members from PSFK discussed everything from Amazon to Alibaba and shared key insights from the report, including its emphasis on how retailers should leverage their physical spaces and connect them to digital channels (as many already are).

Prior to the event, Piers Fawkes, founder and president of PSFK, highlighted a theme of the report: the continued potential for brick-and-mortar store success. “Basically, the unspoken subtext of PSFK’s future of retail report is ‘how to save offline retail,’” he said. The report explained that experiential retail — underpinned by an “invisible” layer of technology-driven services — can help retailers drive brick-and-mortar sales, build brand affinity and promote repeat engagements.

Fawkes noted that retailers must adapt to changing consumer expectations. “Address new customer baseline expectations for convenience, immediacy and 24/7 access,” he urged. To differentiate stores from e-commerce, he added, retailers should allow customers to tap trial services and co-create products, as well as offer feedback and generate content.

“The report shows how to leverage content, education and experiential activations to close the confidence gap and align the shopping experience with customer lifestyles and aspirations,” he continued. “It explains how to redesign the consumer’s point of sale experience.”

Above all, Fawkes declared there’s great potential for the future of retail — and brick-and-mortar sales — when approached strategically. “We all know by now that traditional retail seems to be challenged, but we also know that brick and mortar is incredibly important for retailers, brands, communities and shoppers — and that will continue,” he said.

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