Traditional brick-and-mortar stores closing, online retailers opening real stores

9NEWS @ 4. 1/9/2017

KUSA - The Limited closed all of its locations Sunday.

The Ohio-based company had already closed several stores in recent weeks, before deciding to close all of its locations.

It will still continue to make online sales.

The Limited announced the closures two days after Macy's said it would close 68 stores and Sears announced it would be closing another 150 stores.

Business experts at the University of Denver say many retailers are downsizing because they can't keep up with the customer experience of online shopping.

"The shutting down of stores, or numbers of stores, is not super surprising - but whether or not they succeed at maintaining relationships through the stores that they keep open is going to be a factor of whether or not they can figure out how to better engage with their customers," said Associate Professor Melissa Archpru Akaka, Ph.D.

Dr. Akaka says brick-and-mortar stores need to focus on changing the customer experience to keep them coming to their stores - and their brand alive.

"The best thing for retailers to do at this time is sort of be proactive and start thinking about who their target markets are, who do they want to engage with and how can they design better experiences both on and offline in order to develop relationships and strengthen their brand," said Dr. Akaka.

On the other end of the spectrum, online retailers like Amazon, are now opening their own brick-and-mortar bookstore in Manhattan.

Akaka says this is more of a move to engage with customers and strengthen their brand and not really a way to drive up revenue.

"A physical retail space gives companies a way to engage with customers that online shopping does not and I think that having human, face-to-face interaction can go a really long way in this super competitive environment," she said.

She added, "So those retail stores that they are opening may not help drive revenue. In fact, in the beginning it might actually be a cost - however if it enhances the experience for the consumer and it strengthens the brand - I think in the long run it will really benefit these companies by having a more direct engagement with the customers themselves."

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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