With the popularity of online shopping nowadays, someone with an idea for a new retail business does not necessarily have to open a storefront. That does not automatically imply, though, that there is no longer a need for physical retail stores or that all business ideas work well online.
Actually, according to a study by A.T. Kearney, consumers of all ages still prefer physical stores over E-Commerce shopping. In fact, as the study predicts, brick-and-mortar retailing is not only the industry’s cornerstone today – but also its future.
Although E-Commerce seems to receive all the media attention these days, in Western countries 90% of all retail sales still happen in actual stores. Just 5% occur via online channels (such as Amazon.com or eBay.com) and another 5% occur on the E-Commerce sites of companies that also have brick-and-mortar locations.
It is true that, in general, opening a business as an online store is much cheaper than a retail storefront: there is no rent to pay or other utility bills directly related to the store except for web hosting and technical support.
Nevertheless, opening a physical store is becoming a hot trend for formerly E-Commerce-only companies: stores provide consumers with a sensory experience that allows them to touch and feel products and immerse in brand experiences. Moreover, when you shop at a retail store, you have the advantage of speaking with someone that might be able to point you into the right direction and give you advice.
Retailers that create high-value, personalized interactions will provide a more satisfying experience for customers. Specifically, in order for retailers to survive and retain market share, they must understand the customers’ desires and needs and additionally use modern technology in the stores to empower their store associates.
Sources: - http://smallbiztrends.com