The future of stores is not in sales

/b/n/n/Rosie8.jpg

Last year, online sales totalled £68bn – 16% more than the previous year. The growth of online sales is expected to slow down in 2012, with the IMRG and Capgemini predicting 13% growth this year, but that said, it seems as though all the growth in the retail sector in recent years is coming from online and digital channels.

Online now accounts for 17% of total retail spend and plays at least some part in almost every sale in the form of research, social media or reviews.

We’re not there yet, but it’s not unthinkable that before too long will we eventually reach a point where more sales come from online and digital channels and high street stores will cease to be a major sales channel.

They will instead be emporiums for brand engagement and locations to pick up items bought via click and collect with a token sales offering.

While high street retailers are working on delivering integrated bricks and clicks operations to satisfy consumer demands, in a future when sales is no longer the main purpose of high street shops, it will be more common for online only retailers to appear on the high street as part of a brand marketing strategy, rather than a sales operation.

EBay dabbled with a pop-up store in December and it has long been rumoured that Asos.com, beacon of pure-play online retail, is looking at opportunities for the brand to have a physical presence on the high street.

As a sales channel it makes no sense at all for the online business, which today (19 January) reported 46% total growth in the last three months of the year, but as a place for the brand to live and breath and engage with consumers, it would add another string to Asos’s already strong bow, as well as allowing the retailer to offer customers a click and collect option.

In 2011, click and collect was the talk of the town. It was on the lips of every major retailer as they looked at ways to integrate digital channels with physical stores and offer shoppers more convenient ways to buy and receive products.

John Lewis, House of Fraser and Sainsbury’s are just three of the retail brands that ramped up click and collect last year, and many more will follow suit this year giving shoppers the option to buy online and arrange the most convenient way to collect their items.

Mobile and tablet sales are growing and as more people use smartphones and more tablet devices become available, retailers will need to be looking at the opportunities this presents in terms of brand engagement and sales, both as a standalone channel and as part of an integrated multichannel offer.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here