Last month I was talking to a cousin who has raised the ranks in the banking world. He’s very engaged with the technology behind retail experience (specifically retail banking experience). I asked him what his thoughts are on brick and mortar banks going forward. His candid response was, “There is no need for brick and mortar. Every aspect of banking can be done via online, mobile and a phone conversation.”
Two weeks after that conversation I was riding with dad and he needed to deposit a check. He was in a hurry and needed to get that done quickly. The experience was anything but expeditious. At least two separate people had to handle the check and it took close to 10 minutes to deposit a check. A fundamental banking procedure.
I might also include, checks can be deposited via mobile uploads. Take two pictures (front and back of check), enter the amount the check is for and voila! In under three minutes—and with no transportation required—the check can be deposited.
You may wonder why I’m talking about banking when we’re focused on the furniture industry…
The customer experience is the same for any brick and mortar experience. The customer has to identify what their need is, determine where they can find the product they want, leave their home and arrive at the establishment, interact with a sales person that (hopefully) will help them find what they want, and finally wait in line to check out. There are a number of steps in that process in which the customer can easily say “This is a miserable process.”
That’s really the battle brick and mortar faces—convenience. How can you make the service the customer receives much better than if the customer inter-acted with no one and bought online? How can you make it worth the customer’s effort to physically go to your store? How can you make their life more convenient?