Oracle Retail Blog helps retailers stay current on customer successes, hot retail trends and industry best practices.

Social Selling and the Evolving Role of the Store

Marc Koehler
Solutions Director - Planning & Optimization, Science, Supply Chain

Last month Nike announced a partnership with Snapchat, Shopify and Darkstore becoming the first brand to sell through the social channel. The launch proved so successful that Nike was able to sell out its pre-release of the Air Jordan III "Tinker" in just 23 minutes. All shoes were delivered by 10:30 p.m. the same night by Darkstore which provides physical locations for store inventory and ensures quick fulfillment via simple mobile engagement, leveraging robotic automation and AI.  

The utilization of both online/social media and physical locations enabled Nike to deliver the ultimate customer service experience. While each channel serves a unique purpose, it is the ability to deliver a unified experience for the customer that drives success.

The Evolving Role of the Store

As retailers continue to evolve their businesses to put the consumer at the center of every business decision we are seeing an overall shift in priorities around the concept of convenience. Retailers worldwide are updating their return policies to reduce friction and compete more effectively which creates new customer buying journeys:

  • Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store
  • Buy Online, Return In-Store
  • Buy In-Store, Ship From Online/Vendor

While these multi-channel journeys introduce a level of complexity to understanding a single view of inventory and increasing operating costs, the increased foot traffic is an opportunity. Each in-store return or in-store order pickup increases overall foot traffic by introducing customers to store locations where they may not have normally shopped before. It is important for retailers to begin to implement strategies to convert this growing traffic into additional sales and future loyal customers. Retailers need to adapt store formats to lower friction and increase conversions.

Recently, we have seen a multitude of new store formats emerge within the retail marketplace. The role of a store has expanded beyond sales transactions to experiences with fulfillment centers, showrooms, pop-up shops, and theme stores. Even traditional big box locations are being transformed into a smaller footprint, enabling the physical store to better serve customer demand by playing a specific role - whether it is a strong returns location or top fulfillment location for online orders. The value of a physical location goes beyond sales per square feet. Despite rising real estate costs, it is important to keep physical store locations to help complete the full ecosystem surrounding each customer.

If your end goal is to maintain loyal engagement with customers and deliver memorable experiences, it is more important than ever to understand your customer demand from a holistic trading region perspective. Retailers need to utilize their data to the fullest to understand a single view of their customer to effectively engage with customers on all channels and evolve their stores and fulfillment options.

Hear from retailers around the globe as they share real-life stories of enterprise transformation and the evolving role of the store. Join us at Oracle Industry Connect, April 9-11 in New York City.

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