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Advertising Age reports on a recent conference addressing the importance of creating a compelling physical brand experience at retail, especially in a world where pretty much everything is available online.

According to the story, "Consumers want more from brick-and-mortar stores than they can get online, where shopping is faster, easier and often cheaper … They're looking for human interaction, said Rachel Shechtman, founder of Story, a boutique in Chelsea. 'The future of retail is about entertainment and community,' she said. 'It's really about the surprise and delight factor'."

The story goes on: "Personalization is another area where brick-and-mortar retail falls short, said Alex Bell, CEO of Signal 360, a proximity-marketing platform. It's 'amazing and scary' how much websites know about consumers, but none of that translates to in-store experiences. 'Retailers have to use that weaponry that's online, which is about data and personalization, to make it so that when you do go in the store, we can give you something else and we can make you come back,' said Mr. Bell. He creates solutions to help brands reach customers who in the store -- to find them in the aisles and recommend products they might like."
KC's View:
They're playing my song … or at least, the song that we've been singing here on MNB for almost 13 years. Physical retail can only compete with online retail if the bricks-and-mortar store actually offers a compelling and differentiated reason to go there.

It is that simple. Compete or die.