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Clicks or Bricks - Can businesses incorporate both online and physical retail?

Ryan Willis

As the relationship between the high street & digital retail has developed the phrase “clicks & bricks” has been one we’ve grown more familiar with.

It has been widely accepted that convenience and experience are the two key focuses for retail at present. Many assume that bricks & mortar is where experience can really shine, and there’s the inescapable truth that many do see online as more convenient. The truth is, however, that the landscape in 2017 isn’t as clear-cut as some would have you believe.

The subject of this year’s Euroshop Trade Fair, the UK’s no.1 Retail Trade Fair was very much on the ‘high-end’ solution, of digital integration & personalisation - whereas online has focused more & more on ways to deliver your products faster & cheaper.

But the convenience store hasn’t vanished, people still want to see and inspect key purchases before buying & some digital retailers have made very clear moves back towards bricks & mortar.

Shop floor shifts

Although the need for effective, speciality warehouse shelving is on the rise, demand for retail shelving is still very much present. The way consumers shop may be changing, but physical stores still have an important role to play. Today physical outlets are increasingly used as “showrooms” where potential customers can take a closer look at products they are considering purchasing, making presentation and interior décor even more important for shopfronts keen to impress and to increase sales.

By the same measure, physical stores are also rapidly becoming “pickup” or collection points for shoppers who have already completed a purchase online. In these cases, backroom or even warehouse shelving is very important, while shop floor retail shelving may help trigger impulse purchases or make “collection customers” consider making another purchase in future.

Unstoppable eCommerce

There's also no denying the emerging need for better, smarter warehouse shelving behind the scenes at businesses making the most of the digital boom. Currently eCommerce accounts for 10% of retail worldwide. By 2020, that proportion is set to rise to 14.6% of all retail sales, amounting to $4.058 trillion. As consumers turn to the internet as their primary retail space, brands are increasingly investing in warehouse facilities instead of retail spaces, allowing them to meet the needs of their digital customer base.

Signs clicks could be moving back to bricks?

One of the year’s most noteworthy acquisitions in the retail world is of Amazon taking its first step into the highstreet world, with the US acquisition of Whole Foods Market. For us here in the UK the immediate effects won’t be as keenly felt, however, it will leave everyone speculating as to what comes next.

Whilst some believe that Amazon are looking to bolster the home-delivery offering in the US (which is relatively under-developed), it would be naive to think that they would turn their back on the Whole Foods Market bricks & mortar offering.

Shelving evolution

As the UK's leading independent provider of retail shelving in the UK, we are committed to providing flexible, cost-effective and high quality shelving solutions which keep pace with the evolving retail landscape - no matter its direction. So long as people want to buy products, there’ll be a need to display/merchandise them.

Our range has stayed true to its Evolve name over recent years, continually expanding to add innovative solutions, designs, options and accessories which benefit both retailers and customers.

From the release of our stylish Wire (W50i) system, which ensures stores and stock stand out from the crowd, to the launch of our LED lighting system, which illuminates our flagship S50i shelving units to make products more visible and more compelling, we're constantly innovating to make our shelving perform powerfully in today's ever-changing retail sector.

From talking to our clients and keeping a close eye on the market, our mission is to support retailers by providing precisely the products they need to work seamlessly and sell powerfully.

To learn more about our fresh approach to retail shelving, or to discuss your precise retail shelving requirements contact one of our team today on: 01727 841828.

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