why the physical retail store is still alive and well - Retail7
Retail7 is an in-store marketing agency, specialising in consumer electronics. We pride ourselves on having the best people and data insight in the business.
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why the physical retail store is still alive and well

We at Retail7 have always championed the traditional high street store, it’s our bread and butter after all, however new research conducted by Verdict and British Land helps to reveal the true value of retail stores (its nice to know we’re not alone!).

It reveals that in 2015, some 89% (£278bn) of all UK retail sales touched a store, through physical sales, click & collect and online sales browsed in store. This boosted physical retail by +5% and demonstrates how physical and online really complement each other.

We have all seen how the customer journey has become ever more complex in recent times, coupled with the increasing number of sources of information we consult before committing to make a purchase (up to 14 for some big ticket items). Physical stores play a crucial role in this process –

  • 66% of ALL consumers prefer using a mix of online and physical stores as part of their research
  • 50% of clothes shoppers say they need to try an item out before buying
  • Consumers often make 3 or 4 visits to a store before finally making a purchase


Consumer electronics online sales rely heavily on stores

While half (49%) of all electrical purchases are made in store, two thirds (65%) of sales rely on a store to occur. For this reason, Electricals shows the highest boost at +32%, followed by Sports & Toys (+25%) and Department stores (+20%).

Patrick O’Brien, Content Director for Verdict Retail, commented: “Electricals is one of the most mature online markets, with customers using a variety of channels in their shopper journey. The prevalence of showrooming is resulting in a number of retailers repurposing their physical stores, utilising them to display products and promote online sales rather than just to fulfil immediate sales. We expect this trend to grow as stores continue to migrate to the showcase model.” 

Our own experience shows that consumers are willing to pay a premium in return for the reassurance which comes from expert guidance on options and brand benefits, especially when they’re not subject to ineptly trained sales staff. Retail experts understand the opportunities that come from every single engagement in the last 9 feet of the shopper journey, and take full advantage of it whenever they can. Despite the challenging trading conditions many retailers find themselves facing, there is no real sign that the consumer intends to forgo the opportunity to try out products, get a hands on demonstration and compare brands before they buy.

The retail market is changing rapidly, and the most intelligent brands and retailers are taking the opportunity to change up a gear to meet the challenge. “Shopping is as much about entertainment and engagement as it is about utility’’ Devin Wenig, president of eBay Marketplaces, recently told the consultancy McKinsey

Instead of relying on a product sitting on a shelf and expecting it to sell, the smart brands and retailers are investing time and money in delivering a more engaging and exciting experience to customers at the point of sale, and by so doing they are delivering value which will create long lasting loyalty and repeat business – whether that be online or instore.

Want to know more about how you can be more successful in retail? Register here for our free to attend masterclass ‘Using intelligence to win the retail war’. 

Retail7 have over 22 years’ experience of recruiting, training and managing the best tactical promoter and field sales teams to create in-store theatre, build customer relationships and drive incremental sales.

Contact Andy Boothroyd today, to see how they can help your brand be more successful in retail. aboothroyd@retail7.co.uk

Andy Boothroyd