The store of the future may look very different from what you know
My dad has been wanting to buy a quality coffee maker for years. A coffee machine with lots of chrome and silver, which can handle coffee beans as well as ground coffee. My dad can now look at various machines and even order one in several online stores.
You may buy a 700 Euro/Dollar coffee maker partially for its cool look, but the main reason of your purchase would be that you want to brew and drink good coffee. None of the online stores can offer this drinking experience. You would have to order multiple machines and have them delivered to your home in order to compare the taste of their coffee. And then you would have to return all but 1 machine to the store. This is very impractical because you would be dealing with wrapping, a kitchen full of machines, cleaning the machines prior to return and so on.
So what you are really looking for is place where you can compare machines. Where you can taste different cups of coffee. Physical stores are a good candidate for this, as they can be designed from the ground up with a focus on experience. Shoppers come in, experience, choose and buy. After completing the purchase, the customer returns home and a short while later, the new coffee maker is delivered to his home and installed for him. No more carrying around the heavy machine, no more reading manuals. The delivery guy makes sure to clean up the kitchen, takes away plastic wrapping and cardboard. What an experience!
Looking a bit broader, nowadays’ supermarkets are places where customers are order-pickers. Essentially, a supermarket is a pickup point where customers are forced to fill their own cart. And that is strange since, on average, we buy the same set of products on every visit.
Retailers could easily restock the products you buy every week when you run out of them, without any need for you to visit the store. As a first step, most retailers will start to offer “same day delivery” of products, for free. And the speed of delivery will increase continually, with the retailer aiming for instant delivery.
This evolution surely raises some questions:
-Why would consumers go to stores?
Maybe to live an experience? To try new products. To receive tips.
-Will “new” products be automatically included in my home deliveries?
You may receive products that you did not order, but that the retailer’s Artificial Intelligence thinks you may like.
-Why is my retailer’s assortment limited?
Store size doesn’t necessarily matter for home delivery.
New players in the retail market will think hard about these questions. They will use digital transformation to challenge established stores and e-commerce players.