From its beginnings, humanity has engaged in commerce in set, physical locations. From ancient Greece’s all-purpose agora to today’s Apple store, formats have provided the framework for retailing that is dependent upon place. Today, however, the advent of digital technology has taken the idea of format “off the grid,” so to speak, opening new vistas of shopper engagement never before envisioned. At the same time, retailers are reinventing brick-and-mortar formats and repositioning structural variables in response to the changing shopper landscape.
The physical and virtual space in which retailers engage shoppers is in flux. We are witnessing a tremendous reallocation of capital deployment; a redeployment of physical retail space; and a complete reboot of how store formats serve a more convenience-oriented, efficiency-motivated, and experience-craving shopper. Categories shoppers once bought in stores, they might buy elsewhere now, and the nature of in-store sales and service has been permanently altered. At the same time, the integration of digital tools in physical stores is in its infancy. We are truly at Day 1 of what will be the new digital shelf/store. The confluence of these changes demands a baseline reinvention of store formats and their purpose.
This research, which represents the third of four pillars integral to our overall big idea for 2015 and beyond (REconfigure REtail: Strategies to Drive Competitive Advantage), can be downloaded here.