Brick-and-mortar retail shift
Are brick-and-mortar stores bound to shift to digital platforms for the continuity of business?
How will various industries such as the fragrance and jewelry industry survive when consumers are keen to experience the item first-hand?
Shift to digital platforms could be both a temporary solution to not disrupt the business, but even an optimal solution for the future. Fragrance and jewelry industry will still survive via brick and mortar, digital is good for advertising and receive input and feedback for them.
The erosion of brick and mortar commerce will occur at different paces for different retail verticals. Clearly first to go will be segments where products are uniform and descriptions can be fully captured in writing, such as software and consumer electronics.
Fragrance and jewelry will lag given the highly personal nature of the products and as Katrina Ngo noted, the desire to experience the product first hand. Can someone truly decide whether they like a fragrance or not based on a written description only, without the opportunity to smell it first?
One of the last ones to shift to digital will be the fresh food industry, even though we are starting to see overtures in this area from companies such as Amazon/Whole Foods. This will be particularly critical for products that can vary widely from one to another such as produce or fresh cuts of meat. Sustained digital business in this segment will be highly dependent on companies being able to select and deliver high quality products to customers.
E.g., if a particular fruit is in a store has a poor selection, the consumer can choose to forego this product in real time and select an alternative that has better quality. This will be very difficult to manage via the digital experience.