Competing with digital, which can only be cold and transactional
Physical retail has driven its staff to become more disengaged in a drive for efficiency over effectiveness. The leadership team drives for speed of service rather than nicer. Income favours support. It is a response to digital, margin erosion and believing that price is the driver in a commodity world. It has resulted in a dumbing down of staff to a point where the check out is a process, and as a customer, I am self-service.
Retail has mirrored digital, which is also cold and transactional.
In the digital world, Amazon wins as it is more convenient, and I am self-service.
In this new digital world personalisation, gamification and loyalty are now just cold and transactional engagement demanding attention. AI can try to be something better, but I am sure I will feel the same.
Physical Retail can do something digital cannot. Physical retail can do togetherness, human connectedness and community. Perhaps #covid19 has shown where physical retail should be going and not retrenching further into a virtual digital self-service land of isolation and separation.
Being greeted a door is fun, chatting to people in a queue is fun, being offered safety protection is engaging. Many front-of-house have become front-on-house, warm, friendly and helpful.
There is a pulse in both cold and transactional and also warm and connected.