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Rumours of the death of retail stores are greatly exaggerated, kind of...


Published on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 by Frederik Van Lierde

To re-use some famous words of Mark Twain, "Rumours of the death of retail stores are greatly exaggerated". Yes, e-Commerce is booming, who doesn't know Amazon? People still love to shop in-store. Retail stores do have some advantages, as well as online stores. As most of the




According to U.S. Department of Commerce Statistics, the total Brick and Mortar sales rose to $3.043 Billion (that's the USA only) in 2017 at the same time online sales rose to $453 Billion.

The increase in brick and mortar is 2%, online was 16%. I believe this is why some people think brick and mortar is death.

My question is, would you close down a $3Billion market, which is still growing? I wouldn't
Would I rethink brick & mortar and online as a collaboration? I certainly will!

Nowadays, most of the purchases is a combination of digital and physical. Sometimes it starts online, doing some research, and when visiting the store, you try and make the purchase or the opposite, you saw a product in-store when passing by after work, but you didn't have the time purchasing, so you buy it while commuting home.

First some insights


Who prefers to buy online? (info by statista.com) Why do people shop online?
  • able to shop 24/7
  • no hassle with traffic, finding a parking spot, etc.
  • Save time, no lineups to pay, the shop is not on their way home or on the way to work.
  • Free Shipping
Why do people still shop in-store?
  • Being able to try an item before buying
  • Goods can be obtained immediately.
  • Easier to return unwanted or broken items, compared to running to the post office or waiting for a courier to pass by.
  • The experience

How can businesses and small brands take advantages of the collaboration between instore and online shoppers?

As you can see in the previous stats, you can't afford to deny any group, the numbers are too high not to take them seriously. So how do you manage your effort and time to expand in online sales, in collaboration with your physical store?

Should you make an effort and time?
The answer is yes.

How? You need to rethink how you see your business or brand. I see too many businesses and brands to threat their store as #1 and online shop as a feature. I think you should bring it "step by step" to the same level.

Your store cost a lot of money, the rent, the staff, the transport, the decoration, so you need to optimize your investment.
  1. When you have a great sale person, and I hope you invest time in your staff, the person offers advice on size, fitting, care, maintenance, matching articles and more. This is extremely helpful for customers. Let them help you to write better unique item descriptions online.
  2. In your store, you can give hints to other items, like gift cards. Make sure this is happening on your website as well. Don't expect your online shoppers to search long. Put it on the front (read more why gift cards are a goldmine)
  3. My favourite: Depending on the size of your shop/brand, but see your shop as a warehouse. A beautiful warehouse. When online orders come in, let the staff pack it and bring it to the post office or carrier to deliver within 24h. Your staff is available and can pick and pack the items. They know how to do this, they can pack them nicely, maybe add a "thank-you" word to the package or a note, "pack and handled with love by Bianca" + a tip to maintain the item longer.

Optimize the link between your store and your online presence + optimizing your staff at the same time.

When you implement this last idea, like many brands on our platform, you can start promoting on other platforms.
One of those platforms is Masha.ai, a platform that brings all the brands' customers love and buys inside their favourite chat app, but the items are sent directly to the brand, the brand can ship directly from their warehouse or even better directly from their closest shop.

Smart brands understand customers don't by online only or in-store only, it is not black and white. By creating a personal link, optimizing your staff, you can create a bigger ROI on your total business.