What is Store as a Service and how can it help retail?
With an unstoppable acceleration in online sales, retailers recognize the need to achieve service excellence, improving all operational aspects of their business, particularly those relating to the store. At the same time they are looking at new ways of doing business such as Store as a Service.
Regarding the first objective, the concept of Retail Store Operations is an excellent starting point. But what is Retail Store Operations and why is it so important?
In itself, it is the term that is used to describe all the activities that make the store work properly. From personnel management to merchandising activities such as sales and promotions through inventory management and supply chain.
A good analysis of the universe of the store will allow retailers to achieve operational excellence, that is, to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage through the optimization of their operations. To be consistently better than the competition in the organization, it is essential to optimize and integrate the various tasks that are carried out in a store.
But sometimes it is not enough just to be excellent in the store. Retail has come a long way in the last year and service excellence is something consumers take for granted. It has gone from being a point of differentiation to table stakes.
When excellence in customer service is no longer enough, you have to look for new ideas to offer new services to customers.
Store as a Service
Also known as Retail as a Service, Store as a Service is the next step in retail, one which seeks to go beyond simply ensuring the shelves are full and your associates well motivated.
Until now, retail has focused a lot on how to reconnect with a consumer who is migrating online and who prefers to avoid crowds with services such as self check out and Click & Collect, embracing the need for experiences with less physical contact.
But what if the collaborative economy concept could be brought to the physical store?
In other words, renting spaces in the store to other brands or distributors to reduce the impact of the rental cost and, incidentally, attract other types of traffic to the store.
One option could be by bringing the Marketplace concept to the physical store but without adopting a conventional department store format.
You could perhaps rent floorspace to innovative brands that may not want to open their own stores but are looking for high-traffic physical locations to showcase and sell their products. Another option could be to implement touch screens from which consumers can access the products of other manufacturers so that they can complement purchases made in your own stores.
Store as a Service is not an initiative suitable for all types of stores and it is still too early to judge the validity of this new opportunity, but it is worth considering given the retail industry’s desire to innovate formats and experiences, in order to find new ways to not just survive but thrive.