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article imageOnline shopping will never end bricks-and-mortar stores

By Tim Sandle     Dec 9, 2018 in Business
Shoppers are increasingly turning to online services. However, the digital presence will never completely send the physical store into oblivion, according to a new report. Many people still want a physical presence.
The study comes from the University of Arizona and it has found that the majority of consumers, even those err towards doing almost all of their shopping on online, hold the view that the elimination of brick-and-mortar stores would be adverse for society. This is not only so that certain objects can be better sensed – touched, smelt, interacted with and so on, it is also because of the collective experience associated with shopping.
The findings come from a wider survey that set out to examine consumers' perceptions of the transforming retail environment. Retail has seen many changes in past decade, especially the shift from in-store only to omnichannel spending. This use of digital shopping channels has forced companies to make huge adjustments to the way they do business.
The consequence of online shopping for retail includes things like variable pricing, where prices can change by the hour if necessary. It has also changed the way advertising works, such as using a mix digital with reality to enhance consumer engagement and boost brand loyalty.
The new survey looked at the habits of 400 consumers. With this, people were polled about their shopping habits as well as their perceptions of the modern retail environment. The results revealed that consumers are fairly evenly split as to whether they prefer shopping online versus or in person. However, there was a clear consensus which was - if physical stores disappear completely this would have negative impact upon society.
In terms of negative impact, this was expressed as lost jobs, fewer opportunities for social interaction and perhaps even an increase in certain types of crime.
According to lead researcher Professor Sabrina Helm: “There's a sense that brick-and-mortar stores are part of the social fabric of our society. If they disappear, many are concerned about the economy and what this will do for jobs and revenue for communities.”
An example of how change can be embraced is with Bonobos, which has stores in New York City. With these stores customers can come in and try on clothes but they are not allowed to leave with any. The company’s “guideshop” has a variety of sizes to try, but all purchases need to be made on-line.
The new research has been published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services. The research paper is titled “Navigating the ‘retail apocalypse’: A framework of consumer evaluations of the new retail landscape.”
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