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We’re surely into the online era now but when we talk about the future of retail, we cannot margin out brick and mortar stores altogether! There are multiple reasons for stores beyond the online medium to exist. Various studies and observations indicate this:
- “Offline is the dominant retail form – for nearly two-thirds of consumers, brick-and-mortar retail outlets are the most important places to shop.” – From a study of 40,000 people in Germany.
- Two-thirds of Australians reporting that they prefer “brick and mortar” retail stores.
- “About half of would-be customers would not order apparel online because they wanted to feel the merchandise.”
- “90 percent of sales still happen in physical stores, so there is a huge, compelling reason to think about the physical store as a driver of sales.” – Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester Research.
Therefore, on one hand, if we are observing many brick-and-mortar stores opening e-commerce sites; on the other hand, we are witnessing a change of mindset of the eCommerce enterprises. For example, Andy Dunn, from apparel company Bonobos, started out in 2007 by saying that “stores were a bad economic decision.” However, come 2012 and Bonobos has already opened its sixth store in Manhattan.
Rumors of the possibility that Google will be opening physical stores are also flying around. eBay and Etsy are also testing temporary stores. Piperlime, the Gap Inc. unit that was online only for six years, opened a SoHo store in 2012. So, if online stores are hitting the roads and building physical stores, does it imply that we will have the same old brick-and-mortar buildings with the same old buying experiences that we’ve always known?
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