In today’s on-demand economy, direct-to-consumer (DTC) retailers are testing out the latest trend in super speedy customer service to maintain their competitive edge.
What is Ghost Retail?
Ghost retail or “dark stores” refer to the physical location of businesses that are not customer facing. The purpose of these stores is to bridge the gap between instant on-demand services and the convenience of online ordering while eliminating the financial and resource burdens of designing, building, and hiring to create a space for patrons to visit.
Retailers from small entrepreneurs to massive marketplaces have gotten on board with the ghost retail concept. For example, an Etsy shop owner can rent a space at a co-working office and use it as a space to create, package, and ship their products. On the other end of the spectrum, companies like Whole Foods have been buying up warehouses in popular areas to serve as dark stores where they can fulfill local deliveries faster and more efficiently.
What Inspired Ghost Retail?
The COVID 19 pandemic discouraged people from visiting stores, dining in, and participating in other activities that involved gathering in a single location. The restaurant industry in particular adapted to these restrictions and social shifts by adopting the “ghost kitchen” concept. Restauranteurs and chefs could rent or use existing kitchen space without having to worry about dedicating resources to hosts, wait staff, decor, and other in-person dining expenses. Instead, they could work from a lean central kitchen and serve hungry customers via app or food delivery service.
How to Adapt Your App to Ghost Retail
If you’re interested in testing the dark store concept out on your business, your marketplace app will need to offer customers a way to connect with your team in real-time. Adding chat to your eCommerce site or app will make it more convenient for users to reach you, place orders, and share their delivery details safely. Plus, you’ll be able to gain insight into purchasing patterns, conversational data, decision-making habits, and more from integrating marketplace APIs like payment processors, live video for marketplaces, marketplace chat APIs, shipping, personalization software and more.