Reasons why physical stores are still vital for retail

21st April 2021

During the COVID-19 pandemic, online became a fundamental channel for retailers. Even as overall retail spending decreased, online sales grew over the previous year.

However, over 50% of retail sales still happen in physical stores - which makes a synergy between online and offline key to retail success in the future.

People are more likely to buy a product when they have seen it in person

The top reason why consumers prefer to shop in physical stores is to see, experience and test products in person before buying them. This will reduce the risk that a product will be returned because it is not the right size/colour/material.

Customers who pick up items in store buy extra products

For retailers, in store offers plenty of benefits. It is cheaper than delivering, it brings shoppers through the door, and it can lead to more items being purchased.

Physical stores can reduce the cost of returns.

Items bought in physical stores are far less likely to be returned than products bought online.

Allowing shoppers to exchange or return in-store the items bought online can also help reduce the costs of returns by removing shipping and transportation fees for retailers.

High Quality one to one customer service increases sales

Despite the popularity of online shopping, the human touch is still an important part of the retail experience.

The brand experience is still inherently physical

Retail is a highly completive industry. While it can be hard to stand out online, a physical store gives you the chance to create an engaging brand experience.  

Showrooms and concept stores can enable retailers to immerse customers in their brand culture, creating lasting impressions. 

Designing an experience of safety, excitement and convenience is key and can help to differentiate your brand from the competition.

Further help available

If your business requires a review and some possible restructuring in order to be more effective and efficient, please contact our Restructuring Team for a conversation. You can also check out our articles and guides in our Restructuring Knowledge Hub.

Keep up to date

Key contacts

Related insights