Online Retailers Get Physical

22nd Feb 2018


Research has confirmed the growing trend for pureplay online retailers to open flagship physical stores, and predicts that it will continue to accelerate. Figures from property group Colliers International, shows that the rate of growth in online sales is set to slow by 2021, from its current level of around 11 per cent to 7 per cent. In anticipation of this decline, online retailers are increasingly using physical stores to bolster their sales and boost their brand profiles, says the group.


The research at Property show MAPIC, analysed the behaviour of more than 30 online EMEA brands which are becoming ‘showroomers’. It highlights fashion brands Sézane and ME+EM as among those taking part in the trend, with each opening a growing network of physical stores. Brands including Boden, Joe Browns, Realbuzz, Ace & Tate and Missguided are others than have moved into physical stores.


The study also highlights brands such as Samsung and Dyson, which are increasingly reaching customers directly through their own store networks rather than relying on stockists, and thus bringing another set of new stores to high streets and shopping centre.

“With the rate of web sales forecast to level out over the next four years, many e-retailers have identified ‘showrooms’ as one of the remedies to a decline in profits,” says Colliers co-head of EMEA Retail Paul Souber.

“Increasingly ‘Showrooms’ in physical shopping environments both generate online sales, raise awareness of their company, promote brand loyalty and offer the customer an opportunity to see, touch and feel the products." 

“The trend is also driven by cost considerations: it’s not uncommon for 40 per cent of online fashion orders to be returned by the customer without making a purchase. This is imposing a huge logistical and cost burden on the online brands.”

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