Brick and mortar retail stores experienced a crucial setback during the COVID-19 pandemic. With lockdowns consumers had a lot of time on their hands to shop conveniently from their homes. New delivery methods were created, and the shopping experience changed. Now, as consumers return to the storefront, an arms race has begun. Brands must be ready to provide a digitally led store experience—or risk becoming irrelevant.
2020 can easily be referred to as ‘the year of e-commerce.’ Stay-at-home orders drove an explosion in online shopping activity, with e-commerce sustaining an additional 41% sales growth.
Yet digital has surfaced the shortcomings of online-only retail. The simple pleasures of browsing attractive displays or leaving with a purchase in hand were missed by consumers. This is why today, we are seeing brick and mortar undergo something of a renaissance.
Despite estimates of a ‘retail apocalypse,’ storefronts continue to account for the vast majority of retail sales in the United States, while store openings during 2021 were double the number of closing announcements. E-commerce growth has also slowed considerably since its peak in 2020, with e-commerce sales in 2023 forecast to achieve the smallest growth rate.
But this resurgence doesn’t mean a return to the brick and mortar environment of 2019 and before. After two years of navigating the complexities of supply chain disruption and newfound omnichannel capabilities, today’s consumers are bringing an entirely new set of expectations to in-store and e-commerce shopping experiences.
Retail is no longer digital shopping or physical storefronts. It is both; it’s just retail. Consumers want the best of both worlds—all at the same time.
So how do companies keep up? Download our e-book to learn more.