An increasing number of State-owned department stores have been temporarily closing across Shanghai as part of a renovation strategy to modernise and boost the retail customer experience.
According to this article in the Global Times, these moves by traditional department stores are in response to the rapid growth of online retailers in Shanghai.
Obviously, this problem is not unique to Shanghai or indeed, China.
In addition to the problems faced by all modern retailers, traditional department stores have to contend with issues such as rising labor and rent costs as well as deficiency to appeal to the younger generation who are generally attracted to more innovated and contemporary modes of retail.
Older shoppers account for a major proportion of the traditional department stores’ consumers probably because these stores allow older generations to re-immerse in their childhood shopping memories.
Therein lies the common business challenge of our times; how to lure youngsters while retaining seniors? The answer lies in creating an ageless retail customer experience.
In an effort to appeal to older generations, the renovated No.1 Department Store will adopt classic Shanghai interior design, echoing that seen in the Grand Theater and shikumen, a traditional Shanghainese architectural style.
But management take heed!
There is little point spending money on store design to retain and attract older shoppers unless the store and the entire customer journey responds to the physical, sensory and cognitive challenges that accompany normal ageing. We call this Lifetime CX.
Given the inevitable ageing of societies globally, it makes absolute business sense to make Age-Friendly practices a natural part of any structural overhaul. It’s better for all, cheaper and more responsible than a hasty retrofit.