You don’t have to look very hard to find vacant retail and commercial spaces. Some cities have been hit so hard that they’re barren, and the few remaining businesses seem to be hanging on by a thread. The media has done a fine job of finding people to blame for the high vacancy rates. In some cases, the sluggish economy is held accountable, while others point the finger at online retail. For years, the phrase “bricks versus clicks” has been thrown around, as if it’s some kind of all-out war, but the smartest retailers, the ones who are thriving today, have turned their attention to the mighty pop up shop.
Online Retail Sales Are Up
It’s no secret that online retail sales are climbing, but how this information is presented varies from one outlet to the next. In the US, the Census Bureau reported more than a 15% increase in online retail sales in the last year, and with the plummeting sales of some major brick and mortar establishments, it’s easy to think there’s a correlation between the two.
We’ve seen the shift of retail and we’ve lost a few businesses that once boomed in physical spaces, like video rentals and music shops, but here’s the kicker… brick and mortar sales still account for more than 92% of all retail sales and online sales aren’t really making a dent in that. In the last year, less than 1% of sales moved from brick and mortar to the net.
Retail is Evolving
The most interesting part is who is thriving today and why they’re doing so well. A lot of the multinational brands moved away from the net when the dot com bubble burst, but now they’re starting to see that the future of retail doesn’t lie in one or the other, but in a comingling of the two worlds. Companies that were once exclusively online are making their presence known and reaching more customers by opening up pop up shops to complement their online efforts. Bonobos is one of the most well-known brands to do this. Amazon has also started opening up limited bookstores, and we all know Apple, with its shops and in-house training sessions.
Savvy Retailers are Merging the Two Worlds
Online shopping, despite its popularity, tends to get a big thumbs-down from consumers. One study looked into the shopping experience and gave each of some 600 stores a letter grade. More than half of them failed. It’s no wonder why around 80% of people prefer to shop in a physical location, but they do like some of the tools that are available online. About 80% comparison shop, and quite a few even do it while they’re standing in a store looking at an item. They also use their mobile devices to check for inventory and to figure out where the closest location is, so that they can pick up their product right away. However, there is some kind of magic about being able to hold something, or to try it on to see if it’s a good fit, that seals the deal for consumers. They need both clicks and bricks in order to become lifelong, loyal consumers.
If you’re looking to expand your online operations with a pop up shop, check out all the short-term spaces Popertee has to offer. We also have a dedicated page for venue owners, so you can list your space and find just the right tenants.