By Christian Degn Vester, CEO and Co-Founder of Sprii
As the CEO (and Co-Founder) of Sprii, I have a unique vantage point into the transforming world of retail.
Recent headlines proclaiming widespread store closures paint an incomplete picture of the industry's metamorphosis. While some brands are indeed shuttering underperforming locations, this represents consolidation rather than total retreat.
Moreover, the emergence of new technologies does not foreshadow traditional shopping's demise, but rather enables its reimagination.
Commerce is no longer constrained to separate realms of physical and digital. It is evolving into a hybrid model seamlessly blending these two worlds to meet modern consumers' needs.
Established retailers recognize that flagship locations remain as vital community hubs for immersive brand experiences. Yet they also understand the necessity of incorporating digital innovations to facilitate omnichannel engagement.
In the UK for example, there are numerous examples of this ‘Hybrid’ approach. Boots, for example, is revamping its premier stores while closing redundant ones. Argos is expanding its in-store presence through partnerships with grocers. For other brands, particularly in Fashion, initiatives like virtual fitting rooms demonstrate how tactfully integrating interactive technology can enhance physical spaces. According to eMarketer data, 85% of purchases still occur in-store, highlighting its continued relevance.
At the same time, new tools provide boundless opportunities to deepen digital relationships. Our platform at Sprii empowers retailers to host shoppable livestreams, effortlessly bridging the online/offline divide. During the pandemic, we witnessed meteoric 500% growth as brands recognized live shopping's advantages. Yet its rise does not diminish stores' significance, but rather generates interest in complementary physical exploration.
For example, Flying Tiger Copenhagen recently collaborated with Sprii to pilot live shopping and saw turnover double during broadcasts. The real-time engagement and community created through this technology provided an engaging supplement to their physical locations. Fashion retailer ‘Simply Be’ is also soon launching live shopping with Sprii, recognizing its power to connect with target audiences through meaningful stories.
Recent data shows 25% of UK consumers have made a purchase while watching a livestream. A 2022 report projects the UK social commerce market will reach £46 billion by 2025. Moreover, live shopping converts up to 20x higher than traditional e-commerce and viewers, on average, watch for 30 minutes. This immense success cements its staying power as an integral part of modern retail.
Even digitally native companies embarking on physical expansion grasp the synergistic power of omnichannel strategies. Lounge Underwear's forthcoming flagship will establish an experiential hub to nurture its community. I believe retailers thriving in the future will artfully blend physical and digital, not rigidly choose between them.
Imagination and evolution are imperative as consumer preferences advance. Physical retail is not dying, but it does require refinement attuned to our digital era's conveniences.
Our innovations at Sprii provide retailers the capabilities to meet shoppers wherever they are. With technology's boundless potential, stories of demise seem premature.
The future looks bright for retailers willing to illuminate new paths forward.