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Retail stores in a digital world

By Amy Heline, former Holladay associate

How does digital technology affect retail shops?

We all know that it’s hard to keep up with technology, but it can be even harder for retail shops to keep up and compete with online retailers.  The brick and mortar retail stores have to compete with the convenience, cheaper prices and never ending search options of the online retailers.

The challenge that retailers have with digital technology is that it’s not that same as traditional advertising.  You can’t just post or share something like you are advertising on a billboard.  You have to connect and engage with consumers through social media, mobile and digital channels.

According to Retail Technology Predictions from Brand Management Consultants, Interbrand, “The challenge of online and mobile marketing will be to find a way to get invited into consumers’ social media circles, where consumers have complete control over their interactions.”

While humans love to interact with friends and retailers on Facebook and Twitter, it still isn’t that same as physically experiencing the store atmosphere.  Stores are where people can see what’s new and see how their purchase will look the moment they put it on, not wait for it to be mailed in 5-7 business days.

That’s why the brick and mortar store remains an essential part of a retail brand. The role of the physical retail store may have changed, but as this year’s Best Retail Brands Report states, “Brick and mortar is where every dimension of the brand comes alive for us to see, feel, smell, touch, taste, and hear. The store does what technology cannot-allows us the full usage of our senses. And when the retailer embraces digital in the experience, it provides an anchor in a shifting, multichannel world.”

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