A few years ago, we started writing a great deal about the online vs. bricks and mortar debate. In those early days, it seemed as though the future of retail lay firmly situated in the online space. There was talk of bricks and mortar dying out and the eventual takeover of online. Consumers seemed to be heading to virtual stores in far greater numbers, and many offline retailers were beginning to feel the heat.
However, as time has shown, the expectation that consumers would eventually rely solely on their keyboard hasn’t materialized, and instead online-only retailers have come to appreciate the fact that they can’t succeed to the best of their ability without bricks and mortar. This has been quite the turn of events if you ask us.
As we get settled into the new year, it is time to revisit the debate. So, who is winning the race?
In 2016, previously online-only retailers continued to enter the physical landscape. A mid-year Toronto Star article discussed several of these at length, along with the reasoning for such moves. Companies such as Canada Goose, Frank + Oak and Indochino followed retailers like Amazon and Apple, retailers that had recognized the appeal of the physical after being located only online. You can check it out in full here: https://www.thestar.com/business/2016/06/13/five-e-commerce-retailers-that-opened-bricks-and-mortar-shops.html.
Is one poised to take over? It doesn’t /seem so. In the end, it comes down to what each format offers. Online retail offers far more convenience, the ability to shop from anywhere, at any time, as well as virtual shelves that remain stocked at all times. On the other hand, physical locations offer the physical and emotional connection unavailable through the web. Physical stores also give companies the ability to offer a superior level of customer service.
As the need for many retailers to offer the multi-pronged approach – offering customers the convenience of online with the service of offline – grows, the competition is also growing. This means that, no matter how you bring in your sales, you need to be delivering the best service and engaging customers to the best of your ability.
At Storesupport, we know how important the issue of online vs. bricks and mortar is – as well as the competition that accompanies this issue. Want to nail down a strategy to bring in sales? Call us today at 1 877 421 5081.