Why it’s still worth it to open
a physical store in 2019

One of the great themes of the end of 2010 is that of the end of retail sales. The online shopping craze - exasperated by "holidays" such as Cyber Monday - has created the feeling that people no longer make purchases in physical stores. Apparently, we are experiencing an entirely digital era, and the e-commerce giant Amazon controls this new and complicated landscape.

As with many legends, there are some valid points that have led to the belief that retailing is no longer a profitable way to run your business. It must also be admitted that nowadays there are more online shoppers than ever before. But what does this really mean for new entrepreneurs who want to launch their physical stores in real life?

This must be looked into in-depth. First of all, it must be said that, up until five years ago, an easily navigable e-commerce platform, with a good inventory and a robust Instagram follow-up was enough to guarantee a relatively large business. Unique companies that filled the ultra-specific niches were everywhere, and creativity and innovation were key players. As long as you had the tools to get your own brand, physical retail space was irrelevant, if not harmful, to your business success.
If instead we fast-forward to the end of 2018, all those specialized niches have suddenly become overcrowded with virtually identical companies. Everyone has an extraordinary brand, a strong presence on social media and a killer product. The reality of this new world is that there is very little to distinguish between them, and therefore one or two naturally emerge as market leaders and the rest remain in the dark. As a result, even the large digital native retailers who started with an online business have returned to the physical retail space.

It should also be considered that buyers today give priority to experience, which justifies a new migration from e-commerce to physical retail. While in digital the various online trading platforms are looking for a differentiation within rather narrow criterion (for example in the software for the management of purchases), in the physical retail space, however, you are free to customize every detail of its own space, from obvious aesthetic choices (such as paint or furniture) to more refined details that define the end consumer experience, such as music or perfumes.

So, as already explained, not only are physical sales not at their end, they are actually increasing. Anyone who wants to open a material store must keep in mind that opening a physical retail space does not mean abandoning their online presence. Because currently they are two factors that are decidedly complementary to each other, and one can help the success of the other.


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