It’s been another rough year in the brick-and-mortar retail world, as retailers of all size search for answers to deal with Amazon’s online retail disruption and its burgeoning portfolio of physical stores.
At a three-day conference in Seattle called Future of Stores, retailers from around the world are coming together to talk through many of these issues and share the hottest new trends throughout the industry. On Monday, every session was about adapting to and embracing the disruption from e-commerce.
Through a number of panels a couple of themes emerged. The retailers surviving and thriving today know their identity, execute it well and give customers an experience beyond the buying and selling of goods. These trends are occurring at every level, from small online startups expanding into brick-and-mortar all the way up to some of the biggest traditional retailers.
Take Dick’s Sporting Goods, for example. It’d be easy to just think of the company — which is expanding and opening new stores in the wake of the failure of one of its chief competitors, Sports Authority — as just another big box store. Dave Lammers, its vice president of retail technology, said Dick’s has made hay through what panelists called “value added services,” or things you can’t get when buying something on Amazon. That includes everything from custom fitting golf clubs, stringing tennis rackets, lessons in golf and archery and group activities for runners and bike riders.
Following a couple of acquisitions, Dick’s is ratcheting up some of its technology offerings. For example, the company recently launched a feature called Team Sports HQ, which lets little league-like teams set up websites and schedules, buy their equipment and sell things to fans all in one place.
This gives people “the ability to track teams and individual performance statistics from far away; if you have distant relatives that can’t make it to games, they can follow along,” Lammers said.