The role of the store: changing but healthy

The mass media has been filled with stories that presume the brick and mortar retail is dead. Yet the stores remain the retailers’ most profitable selling channel.

Retailers believe the store is important, plan to keep it relevant to the customers and open new locations. The fact that the retailers’ perception of store value remains high is emphasised in RSR Research conducted on July 2019. According to the paper:

  • 70% of retailers assess the store is the primary face to the customer (constrastingly to 59% in the previous year)
  • 64% say the store is a primary point of customer order fulfillment (43% in 2018)
  • 56% agree it’s one of several ways for consumers to shop their brand (53% in 2018)
  • 50% claim the stores are their most profitable selling channel
  • 44% perceive it as a significant place for community to aggregate around the value proposition (36% in 2018)
  • 36% say the stores are old, but major modernisations could save them (18% in 2018)

In-store technology itself matters more than ever. The retailers have „gotten religion” about how the technology can create competitive advantage. The very same research shows that:

  • 68% of retailers strongly agree that technology creates a competitive advantage and new sources of revenue generation
  • according to 56% of retailers, technology is essential in making their employees smarter
  • again, 56% of retailers believe the store should be more fun and easier for consumers
  • 55% want to put actionable information into the hands of managers
  • for 48%, technology’s primary role is to help control the operational costs
  • 47% say technology needs to change more quickly as customer tastes change

 It’s not possible to avoid hearing the predictions of retail apocalypse and the closure of stores. But with only 10% of sales being generated online in the U.S. in 2018, bricks and mortar stores still play a vital role. They have to adapt and change their propositions to sit the modern day consumer. Technology drives a more enjoyable customer experience, simultaneosly improving employee performance, sales and profitability.