Retail is ripe for innovation, but are consumers really hungry for it? The latest Omnichannel Shopping Preferences study from A.T. Kearney seeks to answer that, but the findings may surprise the droves of brands making huge investments in digital commerce.
The survey of 2,500 US shoppers found that physical retail stores play a crucial role in online purchasing habits, with 55 percent of shoppers preferring to use both physical stores and online retail throughout the shopping journey.
The study makes for an even greater argument for omnichannel retail. "A strategy based on leveraging the appeal of the physical store supported by digital is the best formula for capturing the maximum number of sales, building sustainable customer loyalty, and creating opportunities to cross-sell," study co-author Michael Brown said.
While online-only brands like Birchbox continue to experiment with physical retail spaces, traditional retail brands are also finding fun, innovative ways to combine the ease of online shopping with the brand experience of brick-and-mortar.
Essie is the latest beauty brand to take advantage of the vending machine craze with plans to roll out kiosks in a handful of airports and malls across the US. The Essie Color Boutique will include 48 of the brand's polishes, including seasonal shades, that will be sold individually and as curated looks.
Sephora kicked off the trend with kiosks stocked with the store's top 50 items, and Benefit has also tapped vending machines as a way to get its products in the hands of on-the-go consumers.
Meanwhile, Nike this week debuted its Nike FuelBox vending machine in New York City in an out-of-home marketing move that lets FuelBand SE owners cash in their NikeFuel currency for fitness products like hats, t-shirts and socks.