Despite Growth in Online Sales, Physical Retail Still Lives

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“Everyone buys things online. I’m surprised real stores are even open anymore.” This is probably a phrase that you have heard, or even uttered, in recent years. It is true. Very few retailers are without an online purchasing platform. People have been buying clothes, shoes, appliances, and many other items over the web for years. You can even buy your groceries online now. But that doesn’t mean that brick and motor stores are going to disappear.

It only took about five years for smartphones and the Internet to completely change the way people shop. Consumers made a huge jump forward with technology. According to Forbes, though, only about 10% of all retail is represented by e-commerce. The “retail apocalypse” is not real.

According to Ad Week, more than 75% to 80% of purchases made today are still made at a physical retail store. How is this possible when retail stores are closing left and right, and mall parking lots all over the country remain vacant? These physical changes simply represent a shift to a more hybridized version of retail experiences.

People still want the human experience when they go shopping. For example, millennials are 48% more likely to buy something from a brand where they know the people behind the brand. They like brands that are humanized and focused on transparency. These findings also correlate with the fact that 53% of millennials make the majority of their purchases from brick and mortar stores still.

Out of all respondents in a recent poll, 32% of them visited a physical retailer they saw on a billboard later that week. They are still going to stores to get the human connection that you simply cannot get online. As of August 2017, the number one top-selling item on the internet was women’s apparel. It’s selling well online, but it’s selling well in-store, too.

Technology is all about innovation. It also plays a role as a transparent facilitator of human behavior. This is especially true in retail, where its success relies on the predictions of human behavior. Technology is not driving people apart, it’s just changing the way they relate to each other.

You cannot argue that retail has remained unchanged since the emerging of online shopping because it hasn’t. However, you can argue that brick and mortar retail stores are doing experiencing an “apocalypse” because of the e-commerce industry. People still want the human touch on their shopping experience, and they want to leave their houses once in a while. As long as this is true, retail stores will remain standing.

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