The concept of "brick and Mortar" retail is not dead but it needs innovation. "You have so many new business models online, and yet for physical retail, it's still all about sales per square foot. It's beyond archaic in my opinion" Says, Rachel Shechtman, a brand consultant and founder of STORY.
This article summaries her story and shares her idea of the future of retail, bridging content, commerce and community. In the TED Video, at the bottom of the post, you will discover how she created new business models with new revenues while adding to the customer experience and supporting the suppliers.
"Brick and Mortar" retail is not dead
According to Forrester, e-commerce accounted only for 7% of all retail sales in 2011 and that number is expected to grow only to 9% by 2016. Online sales are still just a small piece of the cake and retail space holds so much more potential.
Story: An innovative store
Rachel founded STORY , a revolutionary 2000 square-foot store in New York City that uses storytelling to advertise brands and sell products. It focuses on experience and brand value rather than the product itself. The storefront is the book cover, the interior is the narrative and the characters are the staff, the customers and the brands.
According to Rachel, "It is a space that has the point of view of a magazine, but changes like a gallery and sells things like a store".
New Retail Concept
Story is a very special kind of retail space. Every four to eight weeks, the store is completely renovated -- its walls, decor, and merchandise are changed to reflect a new theme. Currently the theme is "MADE IN AMERICA". Story has set up to explore what and who makes up America.
"Come here in February, then come here in May--you'd think it's two different stores. We're using retail as an opportunity to tell stories, but also to create a sense of community and entertainment,"says Rachel
Example: ST [LOVE] RY
Story, Just like a magazine has merchandising showcased around a theme, brand advertising and editorials. Going further than a magazine the store offers community events, activities and workshops. For example during their "love" story, the stores sold women accessories, chocolates, stuffed animals, books and MP3 players. It featured a photo booth, activities such as cup cakes workshops and they invited relevant speakers.
Rachel wanted to expand the definition of media as a place for brands to advertise in a physical retail space. "To me, retail is such an untapped conversation for the future of media. And with that comes revenue. I call it Retail Media." Story partners with brands and connect them with customers. The store makes money not only by selling product to B2B consumers but also by providing valuable services to B2B Brands.
"Our role is to play matchmaker between brands and consumers," says Rachel. "In that sense, we are a dating service".
Story: A place to Test Products
Brands have also used Story to test new products and how people react to them. The store is filled with cameras that track customer behaviours and provides essential information for brands to market products. Essentially, Story can test a product before they are launched.
TED: Changing the Retail Story: Rachel Shechtman
Story in photo
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