A great deal has been written about the e-commerce revolution and how, in some cases, virtual storefronts are shutting down brick-and-mortar stores. However, there has also been a great deal written about omnichannel retail, and the successful links between physical and virtual storefronts. Much of what is written focuses on how websites help boost store traffic.
A recent report issued by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) noted that the opposite is true, as well. In conducting surveys among retail experts, the ICSC found that, bricks-and-mortar exhibit a positive influence on website traffic.
The research, presented in “The Halo Effect: How Bricks Impact Clicks,” noted, for example, that a new store opening can boost web traffic share within a specific market by an average of 27%. Furthermore, an increase of just 5% in the number of physical stores in a single market ends up having a very positive impact on digital engagement and retail web traffic.
The report also found that, when physical stores are shuttered, the share of web traffic drops, as well. When physical home improvement stores close, web traffic to the corresponding websites can drop, on average, by 16.4%.
Finally, new store openings for emerging brands (those less than 10 years old) increase traffic by an average of 45% in a market. For comparison, established retailers experience an average 36% boost in web traffic when a physical store opens.
The analysts’ takeaways were that physical retail locations are highly-important for the websites’ success. One respondent, Michael Brown with A.T. Kearney, added that: “We have to look at the integrated contributions, and also understand the negative effects of what happens to a digital business if a retailer closes their only store in a market.”
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