Retail has an oversupply problem. For a long time, American consumers wanted more and more, so retailers obliged by expanding stores and product stock. But in order to thrive in this new shopping climate, retailers need to embrace the strategy of less is more.
Turn your store into a brand experience
America has 70% more retail space per capita than Canada, and more than six times that of Europe. That’s about 2,375 square feet per 100 people—23 square feet per person dedicated to your personal shopping whims!
But in the internet age, the reality is that no one needs that much retail space anymore (or if they ever needed 23 square feet each in the first place).
The role of physical stores has changed in the consumer psyche. Shoppers are rewarding nimble digital-first brands, such as Everlane, which practices “radical transparency” in product manufacturing and pricing. They clearly explain how the supply chain works to their customers and where margins are made. Another example is the seasonal Shoe Park in New York City, where customers trade their shoes at the door for a pair from the new collection. They can take the shoes for a test stroll through an indoor park, while enjoying Blue Bottle Coffee and Glossier’s cult-status makeup.
These new models are showing traditional retailers that a physical store should be an extension of the brand story, not a warehouse. In this way, the in-store experience isn’t dead; it’s just returning to its roots as retail theater.