With all the hype around online and digital, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction.
So let’s clear it up.
Even as our world and our shopping experience becomes more digital, brick and mortar stores are still and will continue to remain a primary channel for retailers.
I’m not saying that retailers shouldn’t have a strong omni-channel strategy and focus on building their online and mobile presence – it’s definitely an essential element in a strong overall brand strategy.
I’m merely saying that even as brick and mortar stores adapt to changing times, they will never go away.
In fact, according to the “National Retailer Demand Monthly” report from RBC Capital Markets, November marked this year’s new high for planned store openings in the U.S.
The more than 2,000 retailers tracked by the firm intend to open 77,547 new locations in the next 24 months with roughly 40,298 of those stores opening within the next 12 months – an increase in store opening plans of 1.2% compared to the end of 2013.
Specifically, the retail sector that’s seeing the most extreme jump in new store openings over the next 24 months is menswear. Retailers focusing on men’s apparel have at least 373 new stores in the pipeline, which represents an increase of 3% year over year.
Other retail sectors showing signs of strength in terms of new store openings are lingerie stores, which have 76 new stores planned (a 2.9% increase in planned openings), and restaurants, with an expected 7,262 new locations or a 1.5% store open increase.
You see, even as online channels increase in importance, brick and mortar retail is far from dead.
This news may comfort some traditional retailers, but at the end of the day developing a store network of hundreds or thousands of stores is a substantial undertaking, fraught with risks and challenges.
Retailers need to pick the best markets and the best sites within those markets for their new locations, determine the optimal number of locations for each market, keep up with consumer expectations of what the in-store experience should be, and get better at e-commerce.
Finding that right formula for proper expansion in today’s market is no easy feat. If you’re looking to optimize your new growth strategies, let’s discuss how customer analytics are being used to help retailers like you mitigate the threats and exploit the opportunities this shifting retail landscape provides.