Retailers are rediscovering the benefits of brick-and-mortar locations, as e-commerce enhances customer experience but fails to drive the majority of overall sales. Even companies that started out as purely online stores are now making the switch to physical outlets to expand the business and increase revenue.
The popularity of brick-and-mortar stores is most likely the result of customers preferring to see and feel what they are about to purchase, and the ability to try on clothes in-store allows them to buy with more confidence, encouraging multiple purchases.
It is also simply a more pleasant experience for consumers to physically enter a store and enjoy the tactile nature of clothes and jewelry and the escapist aspect of shopping in general. Bonobos, Harry’s, Warby Parker and Rent the Runway are only a few examples of online retailers who have established brick-and-mortar locations to grow their businesses and give customers greater flexibility in determining how they shop.
Some of these stores are not full retail locations, but rather stock only one item in each size. This way, shoppers can try on the clothing, but instead of walking out with a piece they simply place an order online. This allows businesses to rent out smaller spaces and can decrease the cost of owning a shop significantly.
It can be, however, just as expensive to run an online business as to operate a physical branch, because of the various logistics necessarily involved in e-commerce like shipping, returns and the evaluation of products. And because the majority of sales are generated in brick-and-mortar stores, it only makes sense for every business to have, in addition to an online presence, a physical one as well.
Integration of both online and in-store platforms is necessary, but the majority of sales and satisfaction comes from the brick-and-mortar side of business. It is thus very important for retailers to make sure their point of sale systems are up-to-date and can integrate multiple brick-and-mortar terminals.