Shopping and visiting stores or malls is no longer the same as of today that it was perhaps a few years ago. Retail has undergone drastic, significant and very visible changes – but these changes were always in the best interest of the customer – the business giver. The future of retail shopping is very bright, interesting even though unpredictable, due mainly to the major technical changes that the industry is undergoing currently at a global level. India as a fast moving and adapting nation is not behind in incorporating these changes or doing its best. There are high hopes and expectations that India will undergo a retail revolution, due to the introduction and adaptation of proximity marketing amongst few other concrete factors. The shopping mall culture is developing at an eye-blink speed in metro cities and also tier II, III cities, big towns in the country and any newly opened mall enjoys a good business within a few days, without much struggle. A large population of the ‘younger’ generation (between the ages of 22-45) is also the earning population of India enjoying disposable incomes, relaxed working hours, work-life balance, modernization and realization of recreation and the love for retail therapy along with the need to balance stress and enjoyment, is giving a hard-to-ignore facelift to the country.

70% Global millennial shoppers prefer a brick-and-mortar retail experience (and this is unlikely to change significantly in the future) and about 29% enjoy shopping as a therapy

Placing importance of comfort, brand, quality and lifestyle above (seemingly) insignificant factors like pricing, discounts, and money factor has contributed greatly to the evolvement of retail business, amidst the need to remain technically forward.

Millennials Seek An Omnichannel Experience

‘Online and offline shopping complement each other, not conflict each other’ – this is what is known as an Omnichannel shopping experience; meaning, a shopper expects and seeks interaction with the brands they love on several digital mediums, and vice-a-versa. Omnichannel is basically, to connect with the shopper on all possible mediums or channels – physical, digital, social, etc. And to engage with them, promote specific marketing offers to them, to interact, gather feedback and act upon it. To build one’s brand relationship with the customer from all possible means. 

80% millennial shoppers are likely to buy from brands they follow digitally (indicating an Omnichannel connection)

The technically savvy and shop-smart customer of today knows exactly what’s happening behind the scenes and is aware of the flexibility of any technical development and technical integration. They are more than willing to adapt and leverage newer ideas and technologies or any upgradation for it. They love attention and personalization in all areas of services, where they are investing not just their money, but also energy and time – today more valuable than currency! So, of course, an omnichannel integration is inevitable for survival. Shoppers love to be hooked to their 6 inch screens and be ‘connected’ – retailers have leveraged this to their advantage of using customers’ feedback, incorporate suggestions, conduct polls and surveys and know their minds to be able to deliver an incredible experience.

How Millennials Like to Shop Today

It is imperative as a retailer and also as technology platform to understand and study closely, the buying “patterns” and purchase habits of today’s shopper to be able to modify instore activities accordingly. Afterall, millennials are overtly particular and sharply clear in their minds about what they want and what they don’t want. For them, shopping is all about retail therapy, rejuvenation & recreation, leisure – well most of the times, unless otherwise, where it becomes a mandatory ‘task’. Especially when they visit malls, the purpose of their visit is far beyond simply buying or purchasing. Also, studies have shown that buying patterns of shoppers have been shape-shifting to such an extent that there is actually no pattern at all; it’s unpredictable. But, retailers have shown mixed reactions when told that shoppers come to malls and stores with a lot of expectations in their minds.

43% shoppers want to try out items displayed in the store (versus what is only visual gratification on the screen)

CBRE – A Fortune 500 corporation and a global leader in commercial real estate – is attempting to understand the lifestyle choices of the millennial generation and how this is and will create an impact on future trends in the real estate scenario worldwide. The Chairman of CBRE’s global real executive committee – Anthony Buono states, “The fact that millennials have joined the workforce during a time of Global Economic Change has had a profound impact on places they work, live, and play.”

Focus On Value Addition To Experience Than To Buy-Sell

It is beyond doubt that each and every retailer wants to ‘survive’ in the market, raise their heads above the rising levels of cut throat competition and the desperation to pull and retain the attention of the same group of ultimate consumers. Much as e-commerce businesses are doing their best efforts to ‘show’ and experience on their web stores, brick-and-mortar ones are not ignoring this fact. It is precisely for these reasons that shopping malls in particular and high street stores in general are considering proximity marketing and beacon marketing positively.  The intention never is to cut the throat of e-tailers and shut them out, but to build a bridge between the online and offline and make them work in tandem, for the best interest of the consumers. A small percentage of this online to offline connect has already begun to take place, but for it to become really mainstream, may take some time and perseverance. 

71% offline shoppers expect to view the instore inventory online (before visiting) to be able to plan their shopping trip well

This is the extent to which customers want to be particular about even a leisure activity like shopping and perhaps do more, with the time & effort thus saved – like family time, exploring other brands, watch a movie, etc. 

From Clicks To Bricks

In very simple words, there are obvious reasons why the bricks are gaining importance over clicks; even though the transition from clicks to bricks is not unachievable; in fact, it is prominent. 

Touch-feel-see what you are going to buy

The feeling of ‘REAL’

Assurance & trust

Lesser likeliness of returns 

Enjoy the benefits of technology

Instant Gratification

Choose now, buy now

Multiple activities under one roof

Recreation and socializing

Discover more than intended

Enjoy attention from your favourite brands

What exactly will shoppers see on the (PinCarts) App?

A detailed layout of the store/mall

Deals, offers and special store promotions currently run by that store

Exact store location – geographically, with respect to their current location

Location of a small store or shop-in-shop store inside a huge mall 

Entire store inventory in case of individual brand stores

Product descriptions in detail

Customized promotions and time-sensitive offers

Navigation of the mall – know where to park

Stores, cafes, restaurants and hotels within a mall premises

Promotions pushed by these food and beverage outlets

Stores & Shopping Malls: Redefining The Future of Indian Retail
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