5 reasons to be optimistic about brick and mortar in 2022
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Initial shocks to the retail sector and numerous unfortunate closures in 2020 and 2021 have given way to serious forward momentum. Moody’s, which expects retail to show steady growth through 2022, is bullish on brick and mortar, and for good reason.
There is no experience like an in-store experience
E-commerce offers unparalleled convenience. Clever ad campaigns on Instagram can absolutely have an impact on the consumer. Still, there’s no brand experience as immersive or impactful as a trip to a physical store. Rather than just providing convenience, like e-commerce does, or a fleeting emotional response, like digital advertising, your physical stores can offer so much more.
With the rise of same-day order fulfillment, curbside pickup, and self-checkout, a new era of in-store convenience has arrived. Dynamic and interactive digital signage has improved in-store marketing and customer experience. Even more original features, like VR headsets for unique immersive experiences, have expanded the way stores can look, feel, and inspire their customers in ways that e-commerce simply cannot.
Related: The 6 essential in-store experiences your customers want to see
The majority of purchases are still made in-store
You might be easily misled by the headlines announcing the rise of e-commerce, but the vast majority of finished product purchases take place in physical stores. Excluding items like wood, metal, and other raw materials known as commodity goods, in-store retail remains king.
Although its market share has steadily increased throughout the 2000s, e-commerce only accounted for 13% of all retail sales in the third quarter of 2021. The in-store experience remains vital for retail organizations and restaurants, because most consumers want to see, touch and experience the products they buy. This is especially true for major purchases like vehicles and furniture and still holds true for smaller purchases like food and clothing. Physical stores are still the most effective way to experience products before buying them.
The immediacy offered by in-store purchases provides an important pull factor. Many consumers don’t want to wait for what they need, even if the wait is only a few days. As popular as same-day pickup options have become, many customers prefer to get to the store, buy the items they need, and leave as soon as possible. These advantages are built in brick and mortar, and without major disruption, they will remain unique for the foreseeable future.
Store Associates Convert Customers and Build Loyalty
There are few assets as powerful as an engaging salesperson. A sales pitch can be the difference between a customer buying an important item or leaving the store empty-handed. This potential influence is one of the reasons physical stores remain so important. The human element in retail and restaurants matters a lot.
Salespeople have been called the cornerstone of capitalism. Studies explain how the dynamic seller deals with a number of crucial decisions when engaging a potential buyer. When to speak, when to be quiet, when to push, and when to back down are decisions that even the most sophisticated e-commerce platform can’t process or execute.
It doesn’t take a study to tell you that most customers like to be served. If they have questions about a product, they usually don’t want to go through multiple unsuccessful Google searches while trying to find the answer. Most customers appreciate the efficiency and humanity with which an effective salesperson assists them. This personal assistance capability is one of the less publicized factors in brick and mortar’s continued growth.
Related: 3 Types of Rewards Programs Every Retail Brand Should Know About
Brick and mortar is more dynamic than ever
Apps, robust online stores and other branches of digitized retail were once seen as a threat to traditional brick-and-mortar. Now, they are rightly perceived as complementary assets to the in-store experience. Customers can now check item availability, purchase products, and find coupons for in-store purchases before visiting the store. Popular phenomena like curbside pickup and “buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS)” would not be possible without digital channels.
Retailers are finding even more inventive ways to combine their in-store and online channels, like how Ulta and Sephora customers can scan barcodes at each store, immediately seeing reviews and product details. they envision. Other retail apps use geofencing, augmented reality, exclusive coupons, and other features to boost sales and improve customer experience.
Brick and mortar means value and experience
In an era where the dollar is buying less and less, the average buyer is looking for value and a memorable experience rather than just a product. Physical locations are uniquely positioned to offer much more than online product fulfillment. When a customer can spend half a day browsing, trying on clothes, and engaging with a store’s memorable features, they’re getting more than a product. They live a real experience. When the store offers something innovative and exciting, like Charlotte Tilbury’s GIF kiosk allowing customers’ images to become showcases, the sense of experience and value is only heightened.
Reeling from a pandemic, mandatory closures, labor shortages, supply chain disruptions and ongoing health concerns, in-store shopping has emerged with higher-than-ever revenue, and for good reason. With widespread parity in price and product offerings among retailers, the ability to deliver value through free experiences has energized the retail experience beyond what’s happening in e-commerce today. .
Related: The Future of the Digital Store in Retail