Stockinstore co-founder and CEO Andrew Maver details why bricks-and-mortar retailing remains key in Australia. 

With over half a million people rushing to Melbourne’s premier shopping precinct when restrictions eased, bricks and mortar remains the beating heart of any omnichannel strategy and an unequalled opportunity for customer engagement.

If anyone was thinking that in-store shopping was a thing of the past post-COVID... think again!

Melbourne City Council reported 526,391 pedestrians flocked to the CBD on October 18 - the day COVID restrictions were lifted and stores re-opened. That’s over 10% of the population of metropolitan Melbourne.

Far from being ushered to the corner of your omnichannel strategy, physical stores offer unrivalled opportunities to engage with your customers and should again be taking centre stage for retailers.

Physical stores enable the full omnichannel orchestra to play together, offering consumers their choice of when and how they want to shop. Those retailers who didn’t take the opportunity to tune up during recent COVID lockdowns, are likely to be left behind.

Successful brands embrace omnichannel retailing

Recent research from Abode Analytics shows big-name companies looking to unify their eCommerce and in-store strategy is skyrocketing… even in the middle of a pandemic. Retailers who were amongst the first to embrace Click & Collect, saw a significant rise in Click & Collect orders during and post pandemic compared with 2019.

The human touch

At stockinstore we’ve seen over 8 million customers searching for products in-store (up by 119% from last year) and, during the Click Frenzy and Black Friday sales, a 40% increase in online shoppers checking product availability in-store.

So while we carry on seeing a rise in online shopping, over 80% of shoppers still prefer going in-store to try on and purchase.

Australia is ready to shop

The Australian consumer has more confidence about shopping in-store relative to others around the world, according to Deloitte’s State of the Consumer Tracker, with 72% of Australian consumers feeling confident about shopping in-store, compared to 61% in the US and 55% in the UK.

Customers are now looking for convenience to know that when they do go into store the items they are looking for are there.

Retailers are readying themselves too. stockinstore data shows a 150% increase in the number of retailers choosing to provide customers with a ‘Find in Store’ solution.

A new wave of digital devotees

That’s not to say you don’t need digital too. The IHL group reported 52% of customers expect new buying behaviours to remain.

Neilsen’s Global New Shopper Normal Study found that while only “9% of global consumers were shopping online before the COVID-19 pandemic,” once lockdown and restrictions set in 23% made a purchase online for the very first time.

Customer expectations

To succeed in the current climate, retailers must provide flexible ways to shop.

Customers expect a world of integrated, convenient shopping experiences.

Choosing the right technologies that unify your digital and physical stores will help your business not only survive, but thrive.

stockinstore was founded by retail and digital experts Andrew Maver and Gil Blackstone in 2016. Combining their 20+ years of expertise and passion for retail, stockinstore was developed to transform how retailers use their stores. stockinstore works with leading brands such as Sportsgirl, adairs, Scanlan Theodore, KOOKAÏ, Scotch & Soda, 2XU and more. 

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