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EDITORIAL How online is influencing both the number of stores that retailers have – and how they use them

In today’s InternetRetailing we’re reporting as retailers, collectively, both close stores – and find new ways to use the more limited number that remain. Our headline figure is that, according to the Local Data Company, more than 1,300 stores – or more than 800 when store openings are deducted from closures, have already closed in the first quarter of this year – while more look set to close in coming months. 

That’s topical at a time when, according to Springboard figures, high street stores attracted visitors in Easter sunshine this weekend, but shopping centres and retail parks missed out – but ONS figures out last week show online and store sales growing. Clearly shoppers do still want to buy in-store – but for more customers, perhaps particularly millennial customers, it’s important to combine digital and the store, offering a choice of channels and also bringing digital into stores – and, indeed, stores into the digital process by offering services such as click and collect.

Today we also report on how some retailers are doing just that and using their stores in more sophisticated ways, bringing digital and cross-channel services into store in order to serve customers in a more informed and thorough way. We report as Made – which itself has a limited number of showrooms – is planning a steady flow of innovation through its new Made Labs team, while, from our European coverage, we report on how innovation is also key to German electronics retailer MediaMarkSaturn which is using digital to empower its in-store staff as they advise customers. These are just two examples from among many of how retailers are bringing digital into the store because that’s what their customers now expect. Made believes that millennials want to find out more information about products from the online channel even as they are testing out products such as sofas in the store.  

It’s timely then, that today’s guest comment looks at how retailers can understand how millennials like to buy. It comes from Brian Green of Magento.

Image: Fotolia

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