Retail Comeback: Is The Brick-and-Mortar Store Experience still in demand?

Posted on February 22, 2023 by CBSF

Retail Comeback: Is The Brick-and-Mortar Store Experience still in demand?

Posted on February 22, 2023 by CBSF

The Brick-and-Mortar Store Experience Is Still In-Demand. Here’s Why Brick & Mortar Is Here to Stay.

As retail stores face unprecedented challenges from the digital age, brick-and-mortar shops have had to reinvent themselves to survive.

With more shoppers turning to online platforms, many industry analysts questioned if customers still desired the traditional store experience.

However, in recent years there has been a resurgence of trendy retail shops and innovative business strategies that shows that brick-and-mortar retail is still alive and well.

In this blog post, we’ll look at why the brick-and-mortar experience remains essential, examine strategies emerging retailers are using to stay competitive and discuss how store owners can capitalize on making their customer’s shopping experience unique while still maximizing profits.

Looking at the Data 

Even before the peak of COVID-19, many said retail stores were doomed to disappear.

Fast forward two years, and it’s clear that the physical store isn’t going anywhere – in fact, store openings outpaced closures in 2022.

This proves there’s much more at play when it comes to brick-and-mortar businesses – they provide an experience beyond just buying goods.

  • According to Forrester, by 2024 72% of U.S. retail sales will still happen in-store.
  • 47% of consumers say that having a local presence influenced which brands they chose to buy from.
  • For the first time since 2016, major US retailers opened more stores than they closed in 2022 (Coresight Research).
  • Almost 200% more stores opened than closed last year.
  • E-commerce sales levelled off at around 21% of core retail sales (excludes gas, motor vehicles, and dining). This was down from nearly 23% in 2020 at the height of the pandemic (U.S. Census Bureau, Cushman & Wakefield)

According to the 2022 Canadian Retail Report, a majority of Canadians (67%) prefer to shop in physical stores as long as the experience is exciting and utilizes technology.

Emerging Brands Find That Stores Drive Growth

Further reports from Coresight Research suggest that emerging brands grow through in-person stores.

In 2021 retail businesses boomed 50% over the average growth rate seen through the previous four years. Coresight accounts much of this growth to the 45% increase in e-commerce and the more than $14 billion invested into new brands by venture capitalists. 

And though digital-only brands are a part of the retail landscape, retailers recognize that a brick-and-mortar store helps to drive growth and create brand awareness.

In-store retail offers a unique and personalized experience that helps brands foster strong customer relationships. As a result, companies like Warby Parker, Allbirds, Untuckit, and Brilliant Earth have seen a remarkable expansion in their businesses by opening physical stores to support their already established online presence.

Unique In-Person Experiences

Retailers are getting more creative with their offline offerings, like events, musical performances, pop-up stores, and interactive displays. These unique experiences give customers something they can’t get when shopping online.

In fact, Adidas’ new Halo store (built by our team at CBSF) that opened last November at CF Toronto Eaton Centre gives shoppers an immersive experience that includes:

  • Digital displays
  • “Smart” fitting rooms
  • Brand activation zones

Self-serve kiosks are set up so shoppers can instantly order items in different colours and sizes for pickup or delivery.

Shoppers can also personalize garments with artwork, embroidery, or other options customized to the Toronto market. 

Adidas also uses the 13,000 sq ft space to host influencer events and product launches. The store even has an interactive gaming area to keep kids happy while their parents shop.

Convenience That Online Shops Don’t Match

Let’s be honest; shoppers want what they want when they want it. And while the big tech players have invested heavily in faster e-commerce delivery times, brick-and-mortar stores offer customers a convenience that online stores can’t match.

Customers don’t have to wait days for their orders to arrive or worry about returns. Plus, they can try on clothes or test out products before purchasing.

The Rise of the Clicks-to-Bricks Strategy

With clicks-to-bricks, retailers create an engaging experience on their website or app – including product reviews, detailed descriptions, customer reviews and more – which encourages customers to come into their store for an upsell opportunity or item pick-up.

For example, if you sell furniture online, you offer a discount for customers who come into your store to pick up their items instead of having them shipped. 

One of the main benefits of clicks-to-bricks is that it allows retailers to capitalize on both the convenience and cost savings associated with e-commerce while also allowing them to engage with customers in person.

By giving customers a reason to enter your physical store, you can leverage in-person selling tactics such as personalized service and product demonstrations that may not be possible through e-commerce alone.

Additionally, clicks-to bricks gives you access to valuable consumer data, such as their buying habits and preferences, which can help inform future marketing campaigns and strategies.

The Future of Retail Is Doing What Works

With brick-and-mortar stores adapting quickly to every change thrown their way, it’s evident that the future of successful retail businesses lies in doing what objectively works. And right now, leveraging an innovative blend that delivers the best aspects to shoppers from both worlds, appealing to tech-savvy customers while still providing traditional storefronts.

We Can Do For You What We Did For Adidas

Having delivered for 10,000+ locations and 200 million+ sq ft of retail space over 15+ years, we know what it takes to grow a retail business.

Contact us today to get a project plan and quote.