Online shopping — and a desperately inadequate response from policy makers — is continuing to suck the lifeblood out of bricks-and-mortar retail: a record 2,870 UK shops shut down in the first half of 2019, and Goldman Sachs says Amazon is set to be the prime beneficiary as 12,000 stores fail in the US in 2019.
Yet hope reigns supreme that tech can help turn the tide – technology companies like Microsoft continue to open physical stores – and today management consultancy McKinsey & Company joined the fray, opening its first physical shopfront in New York as a “stage” for retail technology firms to showcase their wares.
The New York-based company, which has over 30,000 staff working across 130 cities, said the store “Modern Retail Collective” will be open to the public and located in Mall of America. It will be refreshed regularly to bring “new technology, brands and experiences together to offer seamless and immersive end-to-end customer journeys” McKinsey said, highlighting three particularly technologies.
The firm explained the decision as an attempt to help retailers cut through the “saturated technology market”, saying that while the future of bricks-and-mortar is dependent on the adoption of a smooth omnichannel experience, retailers often don’t know where to invest and how to separate the wheat from the chaff.
The store will feature:
- “Interactive mobile hotspots with single-tap access to product details that allow customers to create virtual baskets
- “Smart mirrors and fit predictor software to virtually try on products outside the fitting room
- “Faster, future payment options like mobile and cryptocurrency capabilities
Early “Phase 1” partners include Chatter Research, Compass Marketing, ComQi, FaceCake, Farfetch, Flexa, Microsoft, MSM Solutions, Smartrac, Square, RetailNext and Zebra Technologies, McKinsey said today.
“Retailers are experiencing many pressures as they navigate the evolving retail landscape. As a result, stores are closing left and right, with more than 8,000 U.S. store closures announced so far this year,” said Tiffany Burns, Partner in McKinsey’s Atlanta office and Retail Stores Practice Lead, North America.
She added: “Modern Retail Collective will provide insights to retailers exploring opportunities to re-imagine the store through new in-store experiences and technologies that will enhance customer experience and overall store performance.”