According to a new report by Astound Commerce, with the rise of digital commerce the role of the physical store has become unclear, and even obsolete in certain cases. However, stores are still important for shoppers: 73% of consumers visit stores to touch and feel products, says the report. Stores can still have an edge over ecommerce if done right when it comes to driving consumers to purchase.
Lauren Freedman, SVP of Digital Strategy of Astound Commerce, says “…the overwhelming narrative in retail today… the physical store is on the decline… selling on Amazon and investing in ecommerce… only way to be profitable”
The report, "Save Our Stores," combines the results of a 1,000 U.S. consumer survey with a mystery shopping analysis of 24 top retailers. To analyze the 24 retailers, which spanned eight categories, Astound Commerce Insights looked at 23 different metrics to assess retailers’ in-store strategy during the 2017 holiday season.
The study found that, from a consumer standpoint, a brick-and-mortar presence is still valuable for retailers who have planned their strategy to provide an engaging retail experience to stay afloat in the shifting tides toward digital.
After analyzing both surveys, several key themes emerged, says the report. Retailers that best met customer expectations offered a mix of inspiring shopping experiences, valuable promotions, engaging customer service, and an efficient shopping experience.
Stores Must Be Inspiring
Customer Service Is a Critical Differentiator
Stores Gain Ground with Offerings Tied to Efficiency
Freedman concludes that “The role of the brick and mortar store has never been under more scrutiny, so it’s encouraging to see retailers employing a strategic mix of service, branding, efficiency and promotions to make the most out of the in-store experience. In 2018, retailers must ensure their stores have a clear purpose and inspire shoppers, otherwise they risk joining the more than 5,000 stores that closed in 2017.”
To view the complete report from AstoundCommerce, please visit here.