retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal this morning has a story about how some progressive bricks-and-mortar stores “are crafting high-tech retail experiences that give internet marketplaces a run for their money.”

An example cited in the story:

“In Los Angeles, the new Nike by Melrose store has outsize vending machines, dubbed ‘digital lockers,’ which customers can access by scanning QR codes sent to their smartphones when they buy items through the app. Flash yours and a shoebox pops out—no pesky humans required. Elsewhere in the store, codes on every product let customers scan and search for variations in styles and colors; you can also use the app to set up a one-on-one with a Nike Expert.”

And another one:

Nordstrom’s new Manhattan Men’s Store, the story says, is “integrating in-store tech to bolster a full-service operation, which can include a shave, shoe polish or custom fitting. Even before you arrive, you can use the Nordstrom app to select what you’d like to try on, so a dressing room can be made up in advance. The app can even track your location so chosen merchandise is hung and waiting as you step out of an Uber. For those loath to leave the car, curbside service can be arranged via the app and online orders can be picked up in store 24 hours a day.”
KC's View:
I read about these stores, and it makes me want to visit them. That alone is a big deal.

Integrated digital experiences will be different, depending on the store and target customer. But using digital components to create differentiated store environments strikes me as critical to sustained bricks-and-mortar success.