On today’s Business Beat, Jeff discusses brick-and-mortar stores, which are thriving despite the pandemic and an overwhelming surge in e-commerce.
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Good morning, Paul!
Well, believe it or not, there’s still optimism that physical stores are going to exist and play a meaningful role in retail going forward despite many predicting their demise. Now, there’s no question that there has been a tectonic shift in retail buying to online, but the brick-and-mortar retail sector, which still amazingly accounts for 85% of total sales, is finding its place of relevancy and importance in retail.
And further booing the optimism, 54% of even the most highly connected consumers said they’ve recently purchased real products in a physical store, according to Payments data, potentially offering a further glimmer of hope to retailers planning to open new locations. Among other companies bullish on the in-store shopping experience is Apple, which reportedly is doubling down on its pre-pandemic strategy of hosting in-store events and experience. And Lego recently opened up a flagship store in New York City, which includes retail-tainment elements, as they’re known, that the company intends to export to 100 other stores around the world in the coming year.
Colette Burke, Legos’ chief commercial officer, said: “For a number of years, we’ve seen this trend toward people visiting stores for high-quality, entertaining brand experiences that go beyond shopping. Over the past year, our fans have miss personal and tactile interactions with the brand, and we can’t wait to welcome them back.”
So even though it’s now a digital-first world, one in which the model is flipped with the brick-and-mortar store now positioned as the extension of the e-commerce site rather than the other way around as it is historically been, utilizing the brick-and-mortar store in the right way in today’s environment — that is, with significant focus on showcasing product and delivery and engaging experience with it and/or serving as a pickup location in which a consumer can buy online and pick up in store — keeps the brick-and-mortar store relevant and important in retail today and beyond.
I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of StartupNation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.