In its latest research study and survey, the International Council of Shopping Centers explored the “halo effect” of physical stores in the market. The results showed that stores “help keep brands top of mind for consumers when they’re making their purchasing decisions.”
Researchers at the ICSC found that physical stores and online sites have a symbiotic relationship that works in tandem with one another, which dispels notions in the market that online sites are wholly eroding sales of brick-and-mortar stores. The study is based on a survey of more than 1,000 consumers.
“As retailers and brands look to invest in both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce, even online shoppers say it is important for retailers to have a physical store,” the ICSC noted, adding that its survey found “that having a physical presence is key to continued consumer engagement and success.”
The results mirrored recent findings from the United Parcel Service.
Of respondents polled, 80 percent noted that “physical stores keep brands and companies top of mind.” And 42 percent said if a store closes, they would “buy from another location of the same retailer.” Other findings include that those respondents who purchase items online, 56 percent said it was “important” that the retailer also has a physical store. Moreover, 96 percent of those polled that shop online “from a retailer that has a physical store presence still visit the physical establishment.”
In regard to patronizing a physical store near where the respondent lives or works, 75 percent visit an apparel and footwear store. And 90 percent said it was a grocery or “everyday household goods” store. Sixty-nine percent said they visited a furniture or home goods store while 67 percent said cited an electronics store.
With the “halo effect” the ICSC found that when consumers buy online “from a retailer with a physical store near where they live and/or work and the company closes that physical establishment, online spending from that retailer will decrease.” About 30 percent of those polled said their “online spending from that retailer will decrease.”
The survey also found that 55 percent of shoppers say they only patronize online retailers “if they can return items to a physical store.”
“When purchasing groceries and other everyday household goods from omnichannel retailers, 79 percent of shoppers say they spend the most money at those retailers brick-and-mortar establishments as opposed to their online platforms, and either pick up the items in store or have the items shipped home or to work,” the authors of the report said.
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