The emergence of a new generation of better-informed and time-pressed shoppers has disrupted consumption patterns. The digital revolution and the prevalence of collaborative social media have increased product offer and helped shoppers to buy faster and at a cheaper price. This has translated into around a 15% p.a. increase in online sales over the last five years in Europe. However, despite convenience gaining importance in shopping habits, according to the 2016 PwC Total Retail survey, physical stores are still preferred, even among online shoppers.
Retailers have, therefore, to understand and comply with an increasingly complex purchase journey. In response, they are developing integrated distribution strategies to remain competitive and maximise sales. Most global retailers now see omni-channel distribution as an opportunity to generate more revenues through an enhanced experience for customers.
The complementary role of physical stores is exemplified by Inditex, one of the top global retailers, declaring that around two-thirds of their online purchases are returned to a physical store, which often triggers additional purchases on the premises.
Source : AXA Real Estate