Role of Omnichannel Stores in Retail Recovery with Mark Pilkington

February 8, 2022



This episode’s special guest, Mark Pilkington, discusses the role that omnichannel stores play in next-generation retail and how the classic model of retail is evolving.

  • What is the role of stores in the increasingly digital landscape of retail? How can we run brick-and-mortar stores like eCommerce? What excites Mark most about the future of retail?
  • In this episode, we explore these topics and many more with our special guest, Retail Chief Executive and Bloomsbury author Mark Pilkington. Mark offers his insights on how the classic model of retail is evolving and how the next generation of retail is taking its place, leaving many brands behind. Discover how retailers can best optimize their multi-channel strategies to keep up with customer expectations. You don’t want to miss this one!

Conversation Rundown

[ 04:42 - 6:34 ] Evolution of retail post-pandemic
For many years, retailers didn't take the digital revolution seriously. For about a decade, there was an ongoing debate in the retail space as to how serious the revolution was. Then COVID-19 happened. As the share of digital transactions skyrocketed, eCommerce became a lifeline for retailers - especially smaller brands. Mark Pilkington talked about the evolution of retailing post-pandemic and his new book, "Retail Recovery: How Creative Retailers Are Winning in their Post-Apocalyptic World."Opportunity to leverage their human talent alongside their digital retail strategies.

[ 08:08 - 09:24 ] Role of stores in the digital age
In conversation with Mark Pilkington, we discussed how some brands were so eager to invest in their eCommerce strategies that they completely stopped investing in their stores. As Mark puts it, "That didn't work out very well for them."To be successful in the modern-day retail landscape, your in-store and online operations must be complementary. Many brands have found that having a store in the market helps their online business. The bottom line is that retailers can't give up on their brick-and-mortar operations. Invest in both sides of your strategy so you can maximize the role that each channel plays in your omnichannel retail strategy.

[ 10:47 - 14:53 ] How retailers can run stores like eCommerce
Online stores offer an unmatched level of convenience and reliability to customers. But eCommerce is still a very cold medium. At this stage, shoppers are unable to experience the brand in the same way they could at a physical store location. If a store is done right, it should use its technology and staff to create a first-class brand experience. Customers should be able to sample the brand and try best-sellers, while retailers can learn about customers in a deeper way, and understand their needs so they can best serve them. Lean on your online store for convenience, but use your brick-and-mortar locations for education, brand development, and top-notch customer service.

[ 16:21 - 25:42 ] Classic retail model vs. next-generation retail
"What it takes to succeed as a brand has completely changed."In conversation with Mark Pilkington regarding "the great reset" and the next generation of retailing. He discussed the massive competitive shift in the market. It's not good enough to just have a good product and a big advertising budget. Every retailer has to think of themselves as a multi-channel brand. But what it takes to create a brand in this environment is not what it took in the old days. Mark's shared his thoughts on how the decrease in barriers to entry and rise in consumer knowledge have transformed the retail landscape.

[ 30:03 - 33:17 ] Mastering the smaller store model
Is more inventory in stores a good thing? How can brands focus their store associates on valuable tasks and reduce the administrative burden on them? In conversation with a retail expert, Mark Pilkington, we discuss how the smaller store model is going to play out in the near future. The key role of stores is no longer to hold large amounts of inventory. Brands should leverage their stores as interactive, experiential locations where customers can connect with your personable associates. But in order to do this, your brick-and-mortar locations must be backed by a powerful, sleek eCommerce system.

[ 35:31 - 42:51 ] Future of the retail property model
In our discussion with Mark shared how the retail property model is changing. Malls and retail centers are moving towards a fast-moving plug-and-play model, where they must attract a new pool of talented brands at a much higher velocity. This goes hand-in-hand with eCommerce players running their stores like digital campaigns. They open up a retail location to access different customer bases and acquire customers at a cheaper cost. As a result, the store set-up is shifting from a purely physical location to a more digital, tech-powered set-up, where real-time data can be collected.

Meet the Experts

With nearly 30 years of experience in the retail and retail technology industries, Mark Pilkington is a Retail Chief Executive and Bloomsbury author. He has extensive leadership experience and is knowledgeable in practically every aspect of retail, from omnichannel to retail digitization to experiential retailing. He's written two best-selling retail books, 'Retail Therapy' and 'Retail Recovery.'

Currently, he is the Director of Fire Brand Consulting.

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