Physical Stores to Fuel Online Sales Growth

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Is eCommerce driving brick and mortar out of business or are physical stores fuelling the next wave of online sales growth? At first glance, the answer seems clear. As eCommerce has seen steady growth stores have always been playing catch up. But without stores, many consumer shopping experiences will fall short of expectations and online sales growth will stall.

Consumers are Shopping Across Channels

According to recent research by Retail Dive, more than 55% of consumers visit stores before buying online, emphasizing the idea that high-touch physical and seamless omnichannel experiences are critical for modern retailing. Yet eCommerce is getting most notoriety as that is where consumers are most often transacting on their terms with more choice and selection available than on the showroom floor. This purchasing behaviour is known as ‘showrooming’. As always what is easy to measure or creates the end result gets more thought/credit.

The path of today’s consumer is complicated and no longer linear where a consumer goes to a store and buys from that retailer. Consumers are switching between sales channels at an alarming rate and could be starting online or offline. In fact, 93% of consumers shop in multiple sales channels before buying. For manufacturers to have the greatest chance of being found and discovered by consumers a multi-pronged approach is required to meet the needs of as many consumers as possible.

Combine Sales Channels to Win

The next big wave of online sales is here and it involves giving consumers the most flexible options to research, discover and buy your products. The branded manufacturers who are able to combine sales channels will be the winners and those that do not might not survive as pure-play retail is dying when relying exclusively on one sales channel. Look no further than the clothing industry where Amazon is dismantling direct to consumer only clothing brands out of business at an alarming rate. Moody’s Corporation also cautions that losing a retailer with a physical presence in an area results in fewer online sales.

Consumers Want Experiences and Willing to Pay More For Them

When consumers can touch and feel products in person they begin to understand all the qualities of a product rather than just looking at the price tag. Online sales have incredibly high customer acquisition costs and are often driven by discounts. In fact, 20% of all online sales involve a discount. By combining channels consumers are buying into experience and quality over discounts leading to more margin to reward everyone in the channel.

For eCommerce to reach the next big wave of growth, logistics, big data, and physical retail store integration will be required with an advanced cross-channel sales platform. Even the top pure-play eCommerce company Amazon agrees as they look to open up stores across the United States to meet customer demand and lower their costs. This all points to a return to prominence for what most people have been calling for the demise of, retail stores.

Conclusion

Our advice, be wise on which retailers you partner with and develop cross-channel sales strategies to keep your spot in store secure. America is over-stored with abundant retail space, but when the adjustments are settled getting into retail will be very difficult and costly to give consumers the experiences they are seeking. In the meantime, physical retail will continue to be the unsung hero as more transactions occur online as a direct result of a store visit.

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Physical Stores to Fuel Online Sales Growth

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