Any commercial real estate forecast will show a retail shift in demand from storefronts to fulfillment centers. This is attributed to an increase in e-commerce, but storefronts are far from going extinct.
Lots of consumers shop online, but many of them aren’t actually purchasing; they’re researching. Research from Business Insider shows that many shoppers prefer to research products online and buy in-store, a practice now coined, “reverse showrooming”.
Tangible Vs. Non-Tangible Goods
As more and more people adapted to a mobile lifestyle, some goods became easier to buy online—such as music, books and video. Retailers that couldn’t keep up with the shift in buying process were forced to close their doors. However, retailers with more tangible items have found that while people are visiting their websites more often, many still prefer to come to the store to make the final purchase. Amazon is the number one place where people who research in the store make their online purchase, but statistics show that far more people use Amazon for their “reverse showroom” research.
E-commerce as a research tool
Even millennials, who are connected at the hip to their mobile devices, report to prefer buying in-store. They price hunt, compare models and seek recommendations online, but when it comes down to making the purchase, they opt for storefront transactions.
Playing to retail strengths
Some brick-and-mortar locations are even using “reverse showrooming” shopping habits to their advantage, offering smart phone discounts, social media and the option to reserve items online to purchase in-store.
St. Louisans are certainly not immune to “reverse showrooming” as we see continued real estate development for retailers in new outlet malls, shopping centers and neighborhood shops. Talk to our team about commercial real estate investment opportunities for retailers in St. Louis and surrounding areas.