Digital-Native Retailers Are Giving Physical Stores a Radical Makeover

FLAVIO PALACI | January 18, 2019

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Online brands are opening brick-and-mortar shops, using technology and data-driven customer insights to transform the in-store experience. On Black Friday in 2018, online spending in the U.S. leapt 24 percent from the previous year. By contrast, in-store sales fell by 7 percent and footfall was down 9 percent. These numbers might give the impression that brick-and-mortar stores are losing relevance with consumers, but several successful online-only retailers are actually opening physical shops — and traditional brands can learn from them by looking at why and how they’re doing it. There are many reasons for online-first retailers to add an offline presence. For one thing, physical retail still accounts for about 85 percent of global business-to-consumer commerce. And although digital retail is growing, so is in-store retail. PwC’s 2019 Global Consumer Insights Study — to be released soon — shows that 24 percent of consumers regularly used mobile to shop in 2018, compared with 11 percent in 2014, and 49 percent regularly shopped in a physical store in 2018, versus 36 percent in 2014. Stores allow consumers to experience and engage with a brand, its products, and its culture.

Spotlight

U-Haul International, Inc

Since 1945, U-Haul has been the choice for the do-it-yourself mover. U-Haul customers'​ patronage has enabled the Company to maintain the largest rental fleet in the do-it-yourself moving industry which includes trucks, trailers and towing devices. U-Haul also offers storage throughout North America. The Company provides industry leading moving and storage boxes and an extended line of packing supplies to protect customer possessions. U-Haul is the consumer’s number one choice as the largest installer of permanent trailer hitches in the automotive aftermarket. The Company supplies alternative-fuel for vehicles and backyard grills as one of the nation’s largest retailers of propane.

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