A few weeks ago, an article in the New York Times outlined the challenges facing shopping malls and brick & mortar retail. The growth of income inequality, the growth of eCommerce and the excess of commercial space due to over development are contributing factors. (New York Times)

Although some industry analysts have questioned the continued relevance of physical stores, physical shopping remains a vital driver of brand engagement and sales. The benefits that physical storefronts provide make up three of the top reasons why shopping malls and brick & mortar retail are here to stay: multisensory consumer experiences, better logistics and consumer service offerings and strong, lasting brand relationships.

The luxury goods market is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 3.4% over the next six years, predicted to reach a value of $374.85bn by 2020. European and U.S. luxury markets will experience slower growth compared to other global markets. Apparel and leather goods remain the largest segment in terms of revenue to the luxury market, with a large focus on other goods such as jewellery and cosmetics remaining strong contenders.

A report by PSFK explains that retailers and brands must reinvent their physical stores to better suit the behaviors and expectations of today’s hyper-connected consumers. “The most successful retailers will integrate their online and offline businesses and understand how these two different channels drive sales in tandem,” said Piers Fawkes, founder and editor-in-chief of PSFK. Market leaders are increasingly implementing clienteling in retail stores by arming their sales associates with iPads, enabling them to digitally extend traditional in-store interactions, complete with personalized product recommendations based on insights gleaned from face-to-face interaction and data such as purchase history. (BOF)

Charlene Precious Tcheong explains how to design a truly great customer experience by comparing what we know about traditional marketing that is based on needs and wants and customer experience design that is based on desires and emotions. Contrary to what we might believe, designing an experience is not necessarily about the product or service. It’s about fostering four types of values: emotional, identity, embodied, and political, all of which allow a brand to operate at a more existential level.