I have been following Doug Stephens‘ work on the future of retail for several years now, and it is extremely rewarding. His blog is jammed with actual, usable insights, and his book The Retail Revival is absolutely unmissable. People write me – somewhat regularly! – to say things like, “Hey Eric, I wanted to thank you for recommending Doug’s book – I think it may have saved my business.” They don’t just thank the author, they thank the guy who recommended the book.
It’s that good, so go read it already.
Ergo, unsurprisingly, Doug’s new essay on how to use bricks and mortar in the Amazon age is brilliant. Sales per square foot is a nice metric, but if you want to thrive, experiences per square foot is much better.
From Distribution of Products to Distribution of Experiences
The big shift, you see, is that while stores are ceasing to be vital for the distribution of products they are becoming more profoundly crucial for the distribution of experiences. The store allows the consumer to engage the brand, its products and its culture in a visceral and emotional way that simply cannot be replicated online. Therefore, as more and more sales are attributed to mobile, social and online channels, the store’s strategic importance has to shift to delivering more powerful, galvanizing experiences that forge love and loyalty. In short, the store is becoming a media experience! And if executed properly, I would argue that the physical store experience is most powerful form of media a brand has at its disposal.
Is your store a catalog with walls, or a live action experience that draws people in?
The future of your retail business may depend on your answer to that question.