With online retail growing at a phenomenal global rate of 19% year-on-year, questions have been raised over the need for retailers to exist in the physical space.
But despite a downturn, the truth is the physical space is far from redundant…and has never been more important! The online market is becoming increasingly saturated, with more than 800,000 online stores vying for customers’ attention through the gateway of Google. They are also bidding against goliaths such as Amazon and other large retailers, which is costly. Brands are looking for new and innovative ways to create relationships with and retain their customers and to get themselves noticed!
Bricks and mortar stores have the upper hand over pure plays by offering the complete omnichannel experience. Now pure plays need to extend their proposition. Over the last few years, around 20 etailers have opened physical stores to better market their products, develop closer customer relationships and boost their online traffic and sales.
What are the advantages of this shift for etailers?
How are they doing it?
Pop-up and physical stores – etailers in particular are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of a physical presence, yet this can be a risky move. Pop-up stores are a great way for etailers to test the market, and brands like Boohoo and Missguided have already made their mark in the physical world. Missguided made its first UK move into bricks and mortar with a concession in Manchester’s Selfridges in 2015, and will notably soon be opening their first permanent store in Westfield Stratford City.
Events – as well as simply selling products in the physical world, etailers are also beginning to see the relevance of creating an emotional connection with their customers through events. 98% of consumers said they are more likely to purchase a product after experiencing it at a live event. Forward-thinking and innovative brand Notonthehighstreet.com has held a number of live interactive shopping experiences to bring their brand to life, build customer loyalty and create an emotional connection.
What’s the future for pure plays? Opening stores is a lucrative option. All retailers need to consider the benefits of blending all their channels so that they can get the best of their efforts and for etailers – bricks and mortar bridges the gap.