Reports of the impending death of brick-and-mortar stores are greatly exaggerated. So says new research from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), which reports that retailers are finding creative new ways to combine the online and in-store shopping experiences. "Traditional shopping is alive and well," proclaims Tom McGee, ICSC's CEO. "There is clearly a lot of change that's taking place in the industry, which I like to call a renaissance, a rebirth."
Among the ICSC findings is the growing trend among major retailers like Target, Walmart, Best Buy and Home Depot to allow in-store pickups of online purchases. This practice of "click-and-collect" reportedly increased by nearly 50 percent during last year's holiday season compared to the year before. Another growing phenomenon is mixed-use properties, where stores are part of a community hub that also includes housing, dining, fitness centers, and business services in one complex. An ICSC survey finds 78 percent of U.S. adults would consider living in such a development.
McGee tells KTRH that these trends demonstrate how in-store and online shopping can complement rather than compete with each other. "You see the convergence of the digital and physical worlds, where retailers are leveraging their physical properties for the benefit of online, and leveraging online for the benefit of physical (stores)," he says. "In fact, when a retailer opens up a store in a geographic area, that also drives an increase of online traffic by 37 percent in that geographic area."
The bottom line, according to McGee, is that in-store shopping isn't going the way of the dinosaur anytime soon. "90 percent of all retail sales in this country still happen in the physical world," he says. "And I don't expect that to change anytime significantly, despite some of the misperceptions that are out there."