If we are to believe everything we read, brick-n-mortar retail would soon be extinct and nearly everything we purchase would be done online. At least that is what the e-commerce world wants the public to believe.
Unfortunately for local retailers, this was the song that was being sung long before COVID-19, Dr. Fauci, and “new normal” were household names. In large part, the e-commerce community is creating all the hype behind the climb of online shopping and it’s taking over traditional brick-n-mortar shopping.
It is true? To a degree, yes! E-commerce is growing, but prior to the pandemic so were brick-n-mortar sales. According to a report from Digital Commerce 360, US Commerce Department, e-commerce made up only 16% of total US retail sales in 2019 (5% in 2007). 16%! That’s nothing to sneeze at and it’s growing. However, good ole fashioned brick-n-mortar grew at 3.5% and still did 84% of all retail sales. That’s 5-times more than e-commerce. Here’s what the dollars in digits looked like in 2019:
E-commerce Sales 2019 ..= $0,601,750,000,000 (Billions)
In-Store Retail Sales 2019 = $3,161,752,000,000 (Trillions)
I’m not saying that brick-n-mortar can rest on its laurels. Actually, my point is just the opposite. To survive, brick-n-mortar needs to get creative. Conducting business the old-fashioned way isn’t going to be enough to compete and be profitable in the future.
For now, humans are still human, and humans need interaction with other humans. Our job as media professionals is to not just sell ads but to help business owners attract customers. Until robots rule the day, (which in my opinion will be a long-long time) and regardless of the propaganda the e-commerce world puts out, we need to continue to bring IDEAS to business owners.
As media reps, we need to help businesses create and build an emotional connection or “Brand Awareness” among the public. One thing that hasn’t changed is that people still buy on emotion and only justify with logic!
The moral of this story is this… WE need to tell the story that it’s not all doom and gloom for retailers. Good ole brick-n-mortar, for now and well into the future, is still King!
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