Brick and mortar stores are using new techniques to bring shoppers into their stores- including omnichannel strategies and pricey entertainment offerings. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Bought it online? Retailers are saying to consumers - why pay - and wait - for shipping? Come pick it up now. And while you are at it- maybe pick up some last minute impulse items.. That's just one of the ways stores are getting shoppers off the computer - and into a physical store. Mike Kercheval heads the International Council of Shopping Centers: SOUNDBITE: MIKE KERCHEVAL, PRESIDENT AND CEO, INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF SHOPPING CENTERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "When you have someone coming into your store, there is a much higher probability they are going to buy something. So if you can facilitate the sale, the shopping experience to get them in the door in the store, just to pick up an item, there is a really good chance that they are going to buy something else." No more lone Santa at a kiosk in the mall. Shopping centers are going all out with entertainment attractions to bring in the crowds. Kathy Welch is with Forest City Ratner, which owns a number of shopping properties: SOUNDBITE: KATHY WELCH, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF RETAIL, FOREST CITY RATNER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "At Westchester's Ridge Hill in Yonkers, we have partnered with DreamWorks Animation to do the DreamPlace and it's basically a very interactive, high-tech journey to the North Pole, complete with Shrek and all of the DreamWorks friends. And it's been hugely popular. And, of course, people come in and they do that, and then they shop and they dine. " Technology - long the bane of the in-store shopping experience - has been co-opted by retailers as a sales tool. For example sending shoppers coupon alerts that hit their smartphones as they move through the malls, and making their time there that much more efficient, so they have more time to spend: SOUNDBITE: MIKE KERCHEVAL, PRESIDENT AND CEO, INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF SHOPPING CENTERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "They have things like you can text ahead to reserve your place in line with santa so no more standing in line I know how I did with the screaming kids to see Santa. Pick the time that you are going to see Santa. That is using technology. Tie it into an experience and the whole family shopping experience this holiday period." And if the gift isn't quite right? In-store returns have become a sales generator. Kercheval says every dollar of in-store returns - generates $1.15 in incremental sales.