Online retail poses a threat to traditional retail stores. Many stores have taken the approach of beginning an online retail store in an attempt to keep up with the competition. DSW, the shoe giant, has taken a different approach by trying to enhance the in-store experience for customers. Their first attempt at the new store took place in Columbus, Ohio and is now being tested in Las Vegas where DSW strives to make the in-store experience better for consumers.
DSW’s first launch of their enhanced in-store experience involved everything shoe related from shoe shining to pedicures. The original new “enhanced” store did extremely well and the company’s newest store in Vegas continues to build on the interactive experience. The new store has everything the first one has, but with it being in Las Vegas the store also has live performances and an interactive “shoe elevator.” If you see a pair of shoes you like, you pick your size and the shoe elevator brings them down to you. This enhanced efficiency for the business because you have less employees walking around trying to get to every customer and it benefits customers because there is decreased bottleneck, making it easier to get the pair of shoes you are looking for. From a management perspective, this saves time and money because you no longer have to pay employees to just be on the floor waiting for customers.
What DSW is showing businesses is that you don’t have to go to extreme measures to continue to be relevant. Sometimes changing your in-store experience works better than just having an online store. Showing that you care enough to go the extra mile for your returning customers is important for retention. Physical retail will not die, but it will die if it continues like it is today. If you are just a store moving boxes from one place to another with a mark-up, you will not survive. Like DSW, we have to continue to grow and evolve our businesses so that we don’t get lost in the online retail hype.
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