The face of Main Street stores has changed significantly during the last 20 years. Bookstores have been replaced by nail salons, clothing shops are now restaurants and flower shops have made way for pet groomers. Those are the types of services you can’t buy online, and they’re finding brick-and-mortar success. They are taking back Main Street, breathing life back into the vacant store fronts. And adding to this new look for downtown are traditional retailers that are using omnichannel to open successful businesses.
VIP Click and Collect
Take Nordstrom. The venerable, high-fashion store has debuted “Nordstrom Local.” Nordstrom Local doesn’t need a huge footprint, and doesn’t carry much inventory. But it’s a way for shoppers to buy online, pick up in store but also enjoy other amenities that are afforded the VIP shopper. Today’s fashionistas often order online, motivated by styles presented on social networking sites such as Instagram. A customer places her order online, then heads to Nordstrom Local to pick up her merchandise instead of taking advantage of free shipping. Why? To enjoy a manicure while sipping a smoothie and getting the inside scoop on the season’s hottest collection from the friendly, professional associate. Sure, curbside pickup is a popular option for those on-the-go, but those pedicure stations also have their place. Those are the competitive differences that will make Nordstrom’s top-of-mind for their next purchases. It’s Click & Collect, taken to new heights. It’s that type of something extra that drive customers into the store. This is the next level of omnichannel, in which the channel used for purchase is irrelevant.
A personalized approach
Retailers today need to entice shoppers out of their homes and into the stores. Just a few years ago, brick and mortar were written off as a dying breed, suitable only for “showrooming.” Slowly but surely, brick and mortar shops are finding secure footing back on Main Street. Not all the old names will make it back, and some are gone for good, because they just couldn’t reinvent themselves or their customer experience fast enough. But physical locations are a vital part of the omnichannel, offering a more personalized approach than any pure ecommerce retailer ever could.