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Physical stores still key to sales but retailers must adapt says new research

Physical stores still account for the majority of sales for nearly two thirds of multichannel retailers, but companies need to take a more channel-agnostic approach to meet changing consumer demands, according to new research.

The research, by Qmatic, involved 100 retail companies with between 500 and 3,000 employees. It found that for 58 per cent of the companies, the majority of sales are still made in-store, with 24 per cent seeing a majority of sales online.

Four out of ten retailers say their stores will be as important in 2030 as they are now, while 23 per cent say physical stores will be obsolete – and 74 per cent say that online sales have shown the strongest growth so far in 2017.

Qmatic managing director Vanessa Walmsley says, “The research clearly highlights the important role of the in-store environment, now and in the future. While online is snowballing, this channel will by no means replace physical stores. Instead, a blend of in-store, online and mobile will continue to shape retail’s future.

“However, with consumers now conditioned to heightened levels of convenience, retailers now need to adopt a channel agonistic, omnichannel approach to ensure the customer experience remains consistent across all channels, with the service received in-store matching that of online, and vice-versa.”

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