Physical retail, like many things that have been pronounced dead, continues to thrive. For example, literature has been declared dead dozens of times, and yet, despite the incursion of television, internet, and a myriad of other forms of entertainment, people still continue to enjoy good books, albeit often in digital formats these days.
Physical retail is no different. The growth of e-commerce has certainly had an impact on retail operations, but maybe not the dire death knell pundits are so quick to proclaim. In truth, physical retail is as popular as ever—it’s simply had to evolve to keep pace with new purchasing opportunities.
Don’t believe it? The numbers don’t lie. An estimated 91% of retail sales were still conducted in physical retail stores as of 2017, and it is predicted that up to 80% of retail sales will take place in brick-and-mortar locations up until 2025. Online sales are on the rise, but they are not taking business from real-world locations as rapidly as the hype would have you believe. While certain businesses have had to close because of online competition, the real culprit seems to be a failure to evolve. Consumers can buy products anywhere; what they need is a reason to get in their cars and drive to retail locations instead of shopping online from the comfort of home.
Retail as an Experience
Declaring physical retail dead has proven a bit short-sighted. Certainly, the closure of retail giants like Toys R Us and formerly popular department stores seems fortuitous, but the truth is that these retailers suffered because they refused to account for the benefits online stores offered and find ways to offset those draws.
If all a store offers is the chance to buy goods, the truth is that shoppers can get what they want more conveniently online. Physical retail locations need to find attractive ways to differentiate and elevate the experience they’re offering. How can this be accomplished?
Adding convenience is the first step. Start by adopting an “If you can’t beat “em, join “em” mentality. Allow shoppers who use your online portal to search for and hold items at a local retail location so they can visit stores to try before they buy. Or offer in-store pickup options to save on shipping costs. Adding technologies that provide in-store search and data, as well as speedy checkout, can only help.
You also have to consider a more expansive view of what makes up the retail experience. It’s no longer enough to sell goods—you have to create a destination, in a sense. To offer an experience that outshines the convenience of e-commerce, think about adding a “hangout” element such as a café, or find other ways to create a community feeling. When you make experience the top priority, you have the best opportunity to evolve your retail space and remain competitive.
If you are interested in creating a positive retail experience for your store, S-CUBE Fixtures is just only a phone call away! Our goal is to deliver high-quality, cost-effective retail fixture solutions. Let’s work together to create outstanding fixtures and displays that will take your brand to the next level,contact us to get started today!