Studies Prove Physical Brick & Mortar Retail Stores Still Have a Purpose in the Digital Age.

Shawn Davis Evaluation

If you’ve ever thought about buying your own business in California, 2019 might be the best time to do it. Looking at trends data, the death of brick and mortar retail stores might be a short-lived trend. As it turns out, many people still like to purchase goods in real life, at physical stores. According to new data, 85% of consumers in the United States prefer to shop at physical stores as opposed to shopping online. Couple this with the fact that over 90% of all retail sales still occur in brick and mortar stores. All of this despite the mainstream media headlines of stores closing, calling it “the death of the retail industry as we know it”. 

In the last few years, industry giants like Toys R’ Us, Sears JC Penny and Kmart have closed many of their physical stores in the US. While 2017 saw around 7,000 store closures across the country, in 2018 nearly half as many stores closed at only around 3,800. What does this all mean, you may ask.

Brick and mortar retail stores are set to make a comeback in 2019

Digital stores, like Amazon, Casper Mattresses and Dollar Shave Club have been opening up creative physical, brick and mortar storefronts in recent years. Casper has plans to open 200 physical retail stores nation wide in 2019. A lot of these ideas have been referred to as “pop-up shops” and they have become very popular by vastly exceeding expectations in sales performance and expanding a brand’s connection to their customers. They are seen by many in the marketing industry as a tool to help build relationships with consumers and increase awareness for business. In hindsight, the loss of physical sales in traditional stores wasn’t all about people not wanting to leave their homes, a lot of it was driven by the fact that many companies had lost focus on making the experience of shopping in real life a worthwhile endeavor.

People still enjoy shopping in physical retail stores. Many appreciate seeing a product in person, before they decide to buy.

Many modern brands have even gone so far as to open up shops with beautiful interiors, serving as a backdrop to the perfect selfie for your Instagram followers. The interesting thing is that this actually worked! Some shops were set up for no other purpose than to look good and encourage people to post selfies as a new form of social media advertisement. That may sound ridiculous to some, as there are better ways to lure customers into your stores, like making great products or having a knowledgeable, friendly customer service staff.

In 2018, a lot of businesses made the realization that having a physical store was a great way to develop a deeper connection to their consumers. This connection serves to increase the lifetime value of the customer, through a more palpable relationship than is available from a website. One could argue that human interactions still hold a lot of value for consumers and their confidence in your products.

New retail stores are integrating technology to enhance the customer experience.

As retail stores become more connected via technology, they offer a unique, valuable touchpoint for consumers to build brand awareness and make sales.

As everyone is increasingly connected to the internet via mobile phones, new innovations in the shopping experience are being created by brands to enhance their reach in the digital age. Some brands have incorporated mobile apps that can create an interactive experience for the consumer to compare features, pricing and answer questions. Some of these apps connect you to your profile while you are in the store, help you locate the item you’re looking for and make thoughtful recommendations for other products related to your interests. Since these stores do not carry a large inventory, they can be operated with far less square footage than a typical department store. These stores realize that a physical store can be used for “showrooming” in which people use the physical store to examine a product, before purchasing it online. Successful brands are realizing the immense value of this concept, where having a physical showroom will help them sell more goods online.

Mobile technology is crucial to the shopping experience, 90 percent of in-store shoppers will use their mobile devices to look for coupons, compare other product features and pricing from other retailers. A retailer who realizes the power of technology, while optimizing for its potential will likely see strong results. Tech can offer the consumer a much deeper, personalized buying experience. These innovations will certainly help businesses succeed in today’s evolving economy.

Some brands have seen increased sales in physical retail stores in prior years.

Economic indicators are looking strong going into 2019, with job numbers and GDP on a steady rise. In fact, US employers added 312,000 jobs in December of 2018 alone, defying the economic woes of the latest stock market trends.

If you have thought of buying your own business in California, right now is a great time to do it. Planning and forecasting are essential practices to perform when looking for the right business to buy. Using an experienced, professional business broker will help you with the guesswork and find you the perfect fit. Most business brokers hold a very narrow view of just closing the sale.  Shawn Davis and his team at LINK Business take the time to find the right deal to benefit both the seller and the buyer and will be there through every step in the process. Call now to schedule an appointment with Shawn Davis today: