Future of Retail to be Determined by Brick-and-Mortar and E-Commerce Working Together

In order to remain successful, physical and online stores will have to work together to better achieve the customer experience.


Shopping center developer Nate Forbes urges the retail industry to stop taking sides between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores. During a panel discussion on global retail at the ULI Spring Meeting in Detroit, Forbes emphasized new ideas and different ways for retailers and mall owners to embrace the e-commerce boom.

Tiffany & Co. market vice president Diane Brown told the meeting that the company is rolling out a new store design that is "lighter and airier." Brown described it by explaining that customers will be able to touch the product. 

The jeweler is also thinking of the customer experience by opening a Blue Box Cafe in Manhattan where customers can have "breakfast at Tiffany's," UrbanLand reports. 

Like Forbes, Brown agrees that e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores will benefit by working together.

Happy Returns is a company that is connecting its physical and online presence. The startup facilitates returns for online purchases, eliminating the hassle of reboxing and shipping for the customer. 

According to UrbanLand, Happy Returns sets up a kiosk in a all where customers can return purchases of online retailers that are associated with the company. There is no fee for the customer and they receive their refund on the spot. 

Studies show that a majority of online customers actually prefer to return to the stores physical location. Happy Returns takes that statistic and plays with it, creating a business that helps drive traffic toward malls, keeping them relevant. 

Forbes emphasized that consumers are driving the retail concepts. Companies will have to provide a better customer experience and exclusivity with retailers. 

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