For years, media headlines have declared the death of the high street at the hands of e-commerce. But while several well-known retailers have indeed shut up shop or cut back on store numbers, a growing number of digitally native brands are investing in bricks-and-mortar spaces to complement and support their online offer.
At the last EuroShop, the World´s No. 1 Retail Trade Fairtrade, were already first signs that pure player and online start-ups are also increasingly looking offline. 3 years later, at EuroShop 2020 from 16 to 20 February in Düsseldorf, Germany, this will now be one of the major topics of the industry.
In fact, a report published by property firm JLL towards the end of 2018 predicts that online retailers in the U.S. will open 850 stores over the next five years, demonstrating the value these brands place on having a physical presence. “Everyone is saying that physical retail is dying, but online brands are opening at a pretty fast and aggressive rate,” says Taylor Coyne, Research Manager of Retail for JLL, in the report.
Despite the continuing growth in online sales, the majority of consumers still prefer the experience of shopping in-store, and more and more digitally native brands are using physical retail to their advantage.
Today, understanding the true benefits of opening bricks-and-mortar requires reassessing the role of the store and re-thinking traditional measures of retail success, claims Michelle Du-Prat, Co-Founder of Household Design. “Customers increasingly trial products in-store and purchase online, therefore retailers need to move away from sales per square foot as a measure of success and recognise the role of the store beyond this – driving online sales, building brand love, nurturing long-term customer loyalty.”
In the end, it all comes down to experience. To build a successful store, retailers should differentiate with an experience signature, advises Nathan Watts, Creative Director at FITCH. “What does this brand stand for, and how is that relevant for the customer? Based on that, choose locations and offerings with the care and thoughtfulness of an online retailer. Less can be more in terms of store locations and openings, because it helps focus and prioritise investments into the experience, rather than widespread investment and generic experiences all round.”
Ultimately, consumers want a seamless shopping journey, and retailers should therefore be looking to integrate their online and offline channels to ensure a consistent brand experience. It is not a question of whether online or offline have a future, but how brands use both in a meaningful way.
Especially for pure player, EuroShop is the ideal platform to find all solutions necessary for the operation of stationary shops. This applies not only to technology, but above all to store design, shop fitting, visual merchandising, lighting and digital marketing solutions for the point of sale. At EuroShop, the entire range of all necessary components will be covered to turn shopping worlds into worlds of experience for the customer.