As we enter December, it comes time to reflect on this past year’s retail changes. A few weeks ago we looked at a few of those changes with regard to specific retailers, but this week we are broadening the spectrum and looking at a trend that has been discussed in great detail over the course of 2015 (and the years preceding). Online shopping has come to dominate the discussion of retail trends, and for good reason, but is it really taking over?
Over the last few years, online shopping has grown to become a major player on the retail stage. Individuals are shopping online far more often than ever before, and this, for many bricks and mortar stores, has led to a drop in sales – sometimes small, sometimes more noticeable. It is no secret that online shopping offers consumers convenience and a simplified method of price comparison, but even with these conveniences, online fails to offer what many consumer still desire – the experience.
Bricks and mortar on the way out? If anything, retailers are now finding that having the two channels work together is the best way to up sales – we are thinking here of the option to order online and pick up in store. Having a physical location, offering products and services people can actually see, and offering customer service that has people leaving the store satisfied, is a way to differentiate – something that largely remains unachieved through online channels.
Why all the hoopla? Sure, online is taking a chunk out of the market, but so are physical locations. There is still a great deal of discussion because of the competition. As we mentioned, points of differential are what help you compete, and most of these can only be achieved on the ground. Drawing in customers is the optimal way to boost sales, and some of the biggest retail changes over the last few months have had more to do with this than even downsizing or company mergers.
So, is online really taking over? Are the big retail changes taking place indicative of this? Nope. The malls are still busy, and consumers are still spending most of their time and money in physical stores. Will this change in the future? Perhaps, but as it stands, it is pretty clear that bricks and mortar stores are here for the long haul.
Are you finding it difficult to compete, whether with online or other bricks and mortar stores? Maybe a change in direction and a strategy to achieve differentiation is what is needed. Don’t delay. Storesupport can help you develop a plan to get people through the doors. Call us today at 905.847.6513.