The funny thing is that people think brick-and-mortar stores are already dead. But are they? The truth is, and statistics will show you this, online stores have yet to overtake physical stores. E-commerce represents a small fraction of a company’s sales. Out of the $5 trillion in retail sales in the USA in 2017, only $452 billion belongs to e-commerce. There’s a long way to go before online stores can get ahead of the curve.
Businessmen continue to invest in shopfitting solutions. It is still a booming business. There is no reason to think that physical stores are going out of business. Maybe it’s evolving, but it is not dying, at least, for now.
What Physical Stores Are Offering
Physical stores offer inspiration, convenience, immediate gratification, taction, and experience. And though online stores trump physical stores in terms of convenience, shopping centers are still winning the game of instant gratification, taction (trying the products on), and experience. There’s still a long way to go for online stores to win the gratification contest. And honestly, isn’t gratification what consumers want when they shop?
Brick-and-mortar stores also offer a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s not just about browsing the products section of a website. It’s the whole process of walking around the shops, looking at different items in person, feeling and touching the products, trying them on, and paying for them in person. For many consumers, this remains to be the essence of going to a brick-and-mortar store.
Brick-and-mortar Stores Are Evolving
Before you even think about brick-and-mortar stores dying, think about how they will try to survive. They will adapt to these new technologies. They will implement systems that integrate modern methods of retail shopping. Think about it. Large stores such as Walmart and Target understand the need to adapt to these changes.
In the past couple of years, they rolled out concierge services, in-store pickup for online orders, and same-day delivery services. Their salespeople are better equipped at providing excellent customer service. A store doesn’t have your size? They will willingly pick up the phone and look for a branch that does. The next day, you can expect to pick up your item at that same store.
Some companies that started as online shops are also transitioning to physical stores. Digital marketing and web hosting are becoming expensive to the point that brick-and-mortar stores may be more practical already. These stores are bridging the gap and making sure they benefit from the influx of consumers. They are joining hands in using all available marketing channels.
The Future of Retail
While the future remains unclear for physical stores and even online stores to some extent, the future of retail is clear as a day. Consumers will dictate where and how they want to purchase items. All businesses have to do is follow where the consumers go. Whether its integrating loyalty programs, repurposing physical locations and using artificial intelligence, retailers will become savvy in trying to capture their target market. They are going to embrace the different technologies and channels coming their way to answer their customers’ needs.