Toms' founder Blake Mycoskie is not a fan of brick-and-mortar retail.
During a recent interview with Inc., the shoe entrepreneur explained why retailers need to embrace the concept of omnichannel--that customers today want the ability to buy products when they want and how they want--and stop focusing on the traditional brick-and-mortar model.
"As a brand you have to be really focused on the customer, and not focused necessarily on the channel that the customer is purchasing through," he says. "You can’t really care which one it is as long as you’re having a deep relationship with the customer."
So how can brick-and-mortar retailers adjust to changing consumer preferences?
"Retailers are going to need to give customers more reasons to come to their stores than just [being] the place to buy the product, because they can buy the product now on their phone anytime, anywhere," he says. "There needs to be enhanced value in the retail experience other than just purchasing the product."
One way Mycoskie believes the retail model will change in the future is by switching to more of a showroom concept, where stores won't actually have to keep products in stock. By cutting back on inventory space--one of the most expensive real estate costs for stores--retailers will be able to save money without losing customers, according to Mycoskie.
"If you think about cutting that cost and instead just giving free shipping, I think free shipping is going to win every time," he says.
"I think you’re going to see a lot of these hybrid models of online and offline shopping combined with these showroom type concepts."
To hear more of the conversation, watch the video below.