Is Brick and Mortar Retail Making a Comeback?

If you have been paying attention to business headlines lately, you might have heard that traditional brick and mortar retail is dead. The past year saw a flurry of retailers closing down hundreds of stores across the country. The advent of online shopping seemed to have finally put in-store retail out of business for good. But has it really? Here is what Global Resources LLC consultants had to say.

According to data compiled by the National Retail Foundation, the number of physical retail stores in the US actually grew in 2017 at a rate of 2.7 new stores per store that closed. Vend, the retail management firm, predicts that a type of shopping called “cherish” will actually keep retail in business for much longer than initially assumed.

Vend identified two different types of shopping: chore and cherish. Chore shopping, as the name suggests, is shopping for essential items that isn’t much fun. For example, every household has a list of things to buy monthly, like detergent or toilet paper. Consumers want to get chore shopping done as quickly as possible. For this reason, many are turning to online retailers like Amazon that offer quick and easy options like one-tap ordering and automatic renewals for recurring purchases. Services like same-day delivery and voice-assisted ordering make the process more convenient for customers.

The second type of shopping known as cherish occurs when customers spend time looking for a high-quality product and might even enjoy the process of browsing through goods. Items that consumers don’t necessarily need but still enjoy, such as designer clothing and stylish furniture, lead to cherish shopping. These shopping experiences are hard to replicate online. Buying clothes online is still a largely skeptical process. Consumers are not always certain about the size, color or quality of clothes they buy online. You can’t feel the fabric or compare two items of clothing when shopping online. E-stores fall short on delivering cherish shopping experiences, and this is where brick and mortar stores are performing the strongest. Local boutiques and niche stores are still going strong thanks to top-notch cherish shopping experiences.

Online shopping cannot replace every aspect of in-store shopping, at least not yet. Market observers from strongly recommend small local retail stores to focus on offering prized cherish shopping experiences to stay ahead. For example, personalization, app-assisted shopping, and unique products only found in-store are some suggestions that can help improve in-store sales.