L2 research has said it in many forms: Stores are the new black. The absence of stores is the Achilles heel of Amazon. Consumers aren’t divided between e-commerce shoppers and brick-and-mortar holdouts. Rather, most prefer a seamless experience that lets them browse on their devices, buy on the spot or at the nearest store, and be able to return their delivery at the store or online.
Increasingly, mobile is becoming a pillar of this seamless, multichannel experience. As retail traffic moves from desktop to mobile, retailers struggle with mobile conversion rates. Approximately half of traffic to retail sites comes from mobile, which has a 1% conversion rate vs. desktop’s 3 to 4%. Improving mobile conversion rates has been one of the top retail concerns, and will continue to be as time spent on mobile surpasses desktop browsing.
Traditional brick-and-mortar giants have been able to rise from near-death to thriving retailers by investing in strong digital and mobile assets. When a customer adds a product to his cart on the Macy’s mobile site, he is presented with shipping options and information about the item’s availability in nearby stores. Iconic players like Macy’s and Nordstrom are investing in features such as curbside pickup, geolocation-enabled maps, and inventory visibility.
Yet, not all brands are able to justify or shoulder the expense of a full-on omnichannel overhaul. Founded by the creator of Intershop and Demandware, Stephan Schambach, NewStore provides a mobile retail platform that connects mobile users to stores, down to individual sales associates. Users who have downloaded a given brand’s app will be recognized when they enter the store. Sales associates will have knowledge of their spending habits and history, size, and product preferences. The sales associate has access to this information by using the NewStore Associate app and they are able to look up inventory information at other stores and expand consumer offerings. The app facilitates one touch purchase and delivery of items from the closest store to the desired delivery point of the consumer. It also coordinates returns and exchanges.
Brands are starting to embrace the idea. LLX Global Business Services – provider of business services to Bally, Jimmy Choo, and Belstaff – has signed on. The NewStore platform works in conjunction with existing e-commerce platforms (Demandware included).
Furthermore, the system can track all the contact points that contributed to a sale, laying the foundation for a meritocratic system that could potentially put performance over tenure. And of course, privacy – which Schambach says is a non-issue. Users have the option of signing up for a store app or shopping without, just as they can decide whether or not to shop as part of a loyalty program.
The NewStore team developed a short corporate movie that shows and explains how its Mobile Retail Platform works.