Is There A Future For Physical Retail Stores?

The closing of physical stores has seen a spike in online sales as customers chose to explore this option, often because it was the only choice. Online retail sales data for the period April – June show sales have increased dramatically over the same period last year with increases of 57.7%, 50.0% and 49.6% for these 3 months. Clearly online has had a massive boost and has started to create a behavior of using this platform to fulfill customer’s needs in place of visiting physical stores. Sales at physical stores did return somewhat when stores did reopen, showing there is definitely a desire for a lot of customers to visit and purchase in a physical store.

The lockdown in Melbourne metro, particularly with most stores closed once again fuel the need for customers to get back online.

What does this all mean for the future of retail, particularly physical stores? It’s clear that customers have been quick to move to online shopping, but still like the experience of shopping in a physical store when restrictions allow them to. The retailers who have been doing well over this entire Covid period have focused on getting the two things right that every retailer has to focus on, and that is an excellent online and instore experience. The two are no longer separate, whatever platform a customer decides to start their shopping experience on and finish it, has to be excellent. If not it’s too easy to take their business elsewhere. Loyalty only goes so far if they feel frustrated at any level.

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.