The Uptok Blog

Will this be the last recession for traditional brick and mortar stores?

August 24, 2022

Today’s economy is unpredictable, inflation is at a 40-year high, interest rates are rising and gas prices have hit $5 a gallon. The word “recession” has been tossed around, and popular opinion indicates that we should expect the nation to be in an official recession during the final months of 2022. Since consumers are significantly less likely to spend money during a full scale recession, it is undoubtedly a challenging time for retail brands that rely on a natural flow of traffic and conversion. 

But don’t fret quite yet! 

It’s not just you; all retailers will be going through the same struggle. Consider this upcoming recession an opportunity to set you apart from the flock. Companies that are forward thinking and innovative will find themselves prospering in the midst of this looming climate. 

This is the perfect time for retailers to begin recreating a valuable in-store experience online. Although many brands with an emphasis on physical brick-and-mortar retail locations have found that e-commerce has not worked as well for them as it does for other brands, they likely have not tried exploring new revenue streams and bringing a human edge to their online experience. There are so many ways to use new technology to elevate the online shopping experience your brand offers.

Does your business have prosperous physical retail locations that most of your revenue comes from? 

Now is not the time to expand in a physical sense. 

Traditionally, these stores require a human touch or personal interaction in order to sell products, which many businesses find to be crucial for their brand. Yet, as valuable as these brick-and-mortar stores may be, now is the worst possible time to open new locations and expand in a physical sense. Instead of investing massive sums into more brick-and-mortar, there are opportunities in e-commerce that can boost your sales at a much lower cost to your business, all while implementing the tangibility and human touch that is so valuable to your retail locations. This way, you can grow your business and expand your reach to your market in a way that compliments your physical presence without gambling on the success of a new retail location during a recession. 

Leverage Immersive Technologies

There is a constant output of new technology and immersive solutions that are making the online shopping experience less detached. One such example is 3D technology, such as 3D fitting rooms. Amazon offers “Virtual Try-On Shoes” in which shoppers can scan a QR code and see what a pair of shoes looks like on their feet from every angle. This way, shoppers don’t have to go through the lengthy process of purchasing a pair of shoes, discovering it does not match with their favorite pair of pants, and having to return the package they were anticipating for days. Disappointment no longer needs to be an expectation of online shopping. 

Another interesting solution to the disconnect that comes with online shopping is offering live salespeople directly on your website. Many shoppers find comfort in retail locations because of the ease of conversing with knowledgeable salespeople. By offering these same salespeople through a live video chat platform that facilitates face-to-face conversation, your brand can keep its human-touch element intact while dodging the costs of opening up a new store. You can simply hire the salespeople that you would for a new brick-and-mortar location and reap the benefits of replicating the ease of physical conversation on your e-commerce site. Uptok is a live video chat platform that understands the need for a human touch in online shopping, and has features that can allow your salespeople to prioritize shoppers with the highest purchase intent. 

At the end of the day, the retailers who adapt to their customers’ evolving expectations and apply technology to elevate their customer experience are going to continue succeeding, and retailers that ignore opportunities for transformation might see their end. Before traffic begins slowing down and budgets become tight, take steps towards reinventing your customer experience to extend your reach rather than opening a new location. Don’t be afraid of the recession; now is your brand’s opportunity to reach its potential in a cost-efficient and innovative way.