Brick-and-mortar stores will survive digital onslaught

Experts outline a survival guide for traditional retailers in the digital age ahead of Smart Stores Expo 2018

Tags: E-commerceRetailSmart Stores Expo (smartstoresexpo.com/smartstoreexpo/)
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Brick-and-mortar stores will survive digital onslaught Treating retail space more like a gallery is crucial to provide customers with a memorable shopping experience.
By  David Ndichu Published  July 30, 2018

Despite the growing success of e-commerce, the traditional retail market will remain a constant with continued room for growth and profitability, retail experts have said ahead of Smart Stores Expo exhibition.

Based on industry reports, the Gulf region’s e-commerce market is expected to expand to US$ 20 billion by the end of 2020, while the projected growth for the conventional retail market size is US$ 206 billion for the same period.  Although a CAGR of 30% for e-commerce is impressive compared to offline retail’s CAGR of 4%, online receipts would only account for 10% of all regional retail sales, bringing analysts to conclude that the brick and mortar segment is still a dominant player in the industry.

Jayaraman Nair, chairman, VIS Exhibitions and Conferences, organiser of the Smart Stores Expo trade show, said physical stores have a lot to offer beyond the online buying experience. The key, Nair reckons, is for brick and mortar retailers to reinvent themselves and create better in-store experiences for their shoppers.

Patrick Fallmann, managing director of umdasch Store Makers Middle East said, “It’s a given that only brick and mortar can offer that all important touch and feel experience.  However, retailers should keep in mind that their physical space should offer indulging, personalized experiences compelling enough for customers to keep their phones away and prod them to visit the store.  Nowadays, it’s all about engaging the customer’s senses in a totally immersive retail experience, streamlined and convenient procedures, and essentially making shopping fun and entertaining.”

umdasch Store Makers Middle East is involved in retail stores design development, value engineering, project coordination, furniture manufacturing, installation, systems development, shop academy, and digital retail.

Bernhard Heiden, creative director of Interstore AG, a retail design agency, said treating the retail space more like a gallery to indulge customers’ senses is crucial if the aim is to provide a memorable shopping experience and keep them coming back.  “Well-thought visual merchandising, attention grabbing interiors, clever lighting… all these things and some more should be considered when creating a retail environment that positively impacts people’s purchasing habits,” Heiden said.

Smart Stores Expo, showcasing the latest trends, developments and technologies shaping the future of retail, is scheduled for September 4th to the 6th at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre. 

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