Why Physical Retail Stores Are Making A Comeback After COVID
As we all get used to the new normal, we’ve seen states open borders, restrictions on venue capacities and event gatherings rolled back. But every shopaholic in Australia is excited to see stores reopen without restrictions. And there has been a renewed interest in the physical retail sector.
Why brick and mortar stores are coming back
In a world of fast fashion and online shopping it’s not as common as it used to be to step out for a shopping trip. For the last ten years we’ve seen many retail spaces move to a more online model, offering online shopping and delivery. Fast fashion giants such as Boohoo and Shein have dominated the retail space with clothes cheaper than a late-night meal from the drive through.
But people are missing the customer service experience, being able to see and try the clothes they buy and supporting brands that have more ethical business practices.
Here’s six reasons why physical retail stores are making a comeback after COVID.
Try before you Buy
For many experienced shopaholics online shopping has left them frustrated and disappointed with the quality, cut or fit of their purchases. We have all ordered something online only to discover its nothing like it looked on the page. Colour variations, awkward style cuts and non-consistent sizing make it difficult to find the perfect thing online. Many shoppers are looking to try before they buy, heading to the physical stores to make sure they actually like the item they have seen.
One of the biggest draws of physical shopping is having an expert’s opinion to find the right product for your needs. In online shopping we can check reviews and look up products but it’s an overload of information and these random online reviews are not from experts. In store you have a retail assistant who is specially trained on the products their brand carries and they can talk you through your options one on one until you find the right product for your needs.
Being able to walk into a store knowing you want to get something specific and walk out holding it, is a large part of the reason people are shopping in store again. Waiting 5 – 10 business days after you’ve bought something is not always an option. Especially when something doesn’t go to plan, and you need a replacement right away.
In online shopping there isn’t really any customer service, there are automated emails and re-marketing emails but there’s no one on one time spent between you and the retail assistant like you get in a traditional brick and mortar store. Being able to speak directly with someone who can advise you on your purchase and help you find what you’re looking for is a really valuable aspect of shopping in store.
Every kid or teen has fond memories of heading to the shopping center with their mum or dad or even a group of friends and having a social shopping day. After two years cooped up inside, we are all craving as little social interaction. Mother / daughter shopping days complete with coffee and cheesecake are little social traditions we still want to participate in.
Shopping sprees after tax time with friends are always a good bonding experience. We as human beings are social animals and we won’t stop wanting to explore physical stores together and nothing gets your endorphins going like a good sale and non-fat caramel latte from the food court.
Obviously not all brands that retain a physical retail shop are ethical brands but more often than not, bespoke physical retail spaces and the brands that care enough to have one, have more ethical business practices than large online fast-fashion conglomerates.
In this day and age where slave labour and sweat shops are turning out crop tops and playsuits by the thousands, many buyers are looking for ways to find and support more ethical brands that meet a certain standard for human rights. For savvy consumers there’s an ethical fashion report they can turn to check the brands they love and its not surprising to see many brands that maintain physical stores on the list.
The physical retail space is making a comeback in a big way after COVID and if you’re a bit of a social butterfly, who’s good with people, there’s never been a better time to jump into this industry with both feet! You can check out our courses on retail here, or get in touch with our friendly course advisors, they will help you find the right career path for you!