There has been so much negative coverage in the press about bricks and mortar retail over the past few years, with established chains closing and reports of empty highstreets. With their reduced overheads and convenient nature, online stores such as Amazon are seen as taking trade from traditional shops and many see this as the death knell for the high street.
While it is true that online stores have, and are having a huge impact on bricks and mortar, the traditional shop is not quite as dead as our sensationalised media friends would like to portray. There are for example many retail areas where online simply doesn't work, for example some fresh foods (such as fresh butchery), and where items need to be tested, tried on or chosen by testing/touch or comparison (Examples include: clothes, furniture, soft furnishings such as beds, or electronics such as televisions).
Also if you need an item instantly then only bricks and mortar stores can offer this. Do you need that new game for your console now? Do you have a missing ingredient for that birthday cake you're baking? Only your local shop will do...and we're yet to see an online convenience store.
Shops as a social hub...
Traditional high street stores also provide far more than just items to buy. With local stores, shops along-side pubs being the centre of communities.
Shopping in a physical store can be an enriching social experience, bringing people into contact with each other (both other members of the public and staff members. The value of this interaction cannot be overstated, especially for individuals who may live alone or have little human contact.
So I hear you saying, 'but the evidence points to retailers closing their doors', and this is undeniably true. There have been lots of high profile brands closing their estates in recent years. However, this is simply a shift from providing what these retailers 'think' customers want, to providing what they actually want from a bricks and mortar retailer. Things that are not available, or suitable for online sales.
The proof maybe, is the recent shift by online businesses towards opening bricks and mortar stores. One example is Amazon, which has opened several stores across the world under its 'Amazon Fresh' brand. Given the huge army of analysts and statisticians driving its business, would the king of online giants really be opening physical stores if there was no benefit to be had?
As opposed to being dead, physical retailers are merely evolving. Evolving to give different audiences what they want, the merchandise and services (for example: after discovering the thirst for delivery, the major supermarkets all now deliver). The same people who wanted to try on clothes, will still want to try on clothes, the same people who like to see and try a TV before they buy are going to visit a store.
The future of bricks and mortar is far from dead.
If you want to look at options to enhance your store that not only make it easy for your customers to find what they need, but also create a warm inviting environment then get in touch.