For the Next Lux­ury Off-line Store, It’s Back to the Fu­ture

WWD Digital Daily - - In Focus: Luxury -

win­dow dis­plays in Switzer­land. It’s a start, but much more can be done.

Not-in-stock. A clas­sic frus­tra­tion with phys­i­cal re­tail is prod­uct un­avail­abil­ity. E-com­merce has mit­i­gated this is­sue more suc­cess­fully, con­tribut­ing to its pop­u­lar­ity. Brands such as Zim­merli, Bally and Cartier of­fer click-and-col­lect ser­vices, link­ing within-coun­try stores and on­line in­ven­to­ries.

It’s also much eas­ier to re­turn and ex­change on­line pur­chases com­pared to do­ing so in stores. The next fron­tier for the om­nichan­nel ex­pe­ri­ence based on the “end­less aisle” will be to link in­ter­na­tional in­ven­to­ries, al­low in­ter­na­tional re­turns, and use an­a­lyt­ics to bet­ter pre­dict what cus­tomers might want and move in­ven­tory ac­cord­ingly. Cor­re­spond­ingly, big changes in met­rics and staff in­cen­tives will be re­quired to ef­fec­tively tear down cur­rent si­los.

Check­out. In phys­i­cal stores, check­out can be un­nec­es­sar­ily long, cum­ber­some and out­dated; on­line, it usu­ally takes just a few clicks. The hospi­tal­ity sec­tor has al­ready shown that break­ing IT si­los to in­te­grate with ex­ter­nal plat­forms can help. Las Ve­gas-based Linq Ho­tel & Casino uses WeChat for au­to­matic check-in, door open­ing, con­trol­ling lights and air-con­di­tion­ing in rooms, and au­to­matic pay­ments.[

The jour­ney shouldn’t be merely about in­te­grat­ing the lat­est fancy fads and rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing the pur­pose of the store. To make those changes more sus­tain­able, the fo­cus must be on link­ing hu­man, or­ga­ni­za­tional and dig­i­tal so­lu­tions to solve five lin­ger­ing con­sumer pain points first.

Dr. Stéphane J.G. Girod is Pro­fes­sor of Strat­egy at IMD in Lau­sanne, Switzer­land, where he di­rects the “Rein­vent­ing Lux­ury: Strate­gic Con­ver­sa­tions” pro­gram.

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