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Depending on who you talk to, the retail industry is either in a free fall or in the midst of a renaissance. The tale of two retails couldn’t be starker. On one hand, store closures are up four times already this year over last, more people are going online, and bankruptcies are piling up such as Payless, Rue21 and most recently, Toys ‘R Us. Department store sales are down 40% from 2000-2016. Sounds pessimistic.

On the other hand, 76 percent of retailers beat Q2 earnings, Tier A/B mall vacancies are at their lowest levels in 10 years, e-commerce only commands a 12% share and consumer confidence is rising. As further validation, digital natives like Amazon, Warby Parker and Bonobos are all investing in physical retail presences.

Both tales are true, and the result is a retail industry under rapid churning transformation with rising economic tides and increased competition from digital natives. The imperative for reimagining the future of retail has never been more pressing. As the CEO of a company that builds next-generation interactive retail displays, I witness the real struggles of brands and retailers that see the future but are hindered by the operations of today. Like a child learning to walk, retailers are remarkably clear on what they want to do, but stumble in the coordination of all the parts.

Physical retailers must begin by embracing their core differentiation: the physical shopping experience. You can’t out-Amazon Amazon. Gary Vaynerchuck argues that Toys R’ Us went bankrupt because it didn’t adopt that experiential mindset by organizing Lego championships or “slimefests.” It never transitioned its catchy jingle into the timeless experiences that would capture kids the same way Chuck E. Cheese still does. Retailers that provide amazing in-store experiences are thriving. For example, retail concept STORY re-opens every two months with a who’s who of the retail industry looking to capture experiential magic driven by recency, scarcity and an active investment in differentiated technology. Luxury brands are thriving at the top end of the market while making increased investments. The luxury market prides itself on excellent in-store service, investing more in ambience and conveniences that surprise and delight.

While embracing physical shopping experiences, retailers still have a lot to learn…