Kelly Scott Madison

The death of brick-and-mortar retail?



As retailers continue scaling back, questions are growing about how to combat current trends. In an effort to address this, KSM’s latest study digs in to what marketing elements drive consumers into physical stores, and why…

Anyone paying attention to brick-and-mortar retail activity over the past couple years knows it hasn’t been a pretty picture for some. Store closings and consolidations across 2015 and 2016 have steadily grown, with all retailers facing rising pressure to compete more efficiently and effectively in an increasingly online world. In just this year alone, eight big-box retailers announced plans to either completely close or partially scale back their physical presence, according to In all, these announcements represent more than 1,518 planned U.S. store closings for some considerably large retailers thus far in 2016. And with thousands of additional closings announced across smaller brands, the harsh reality is clear that for many, this trend has no end in sight.

Though beyond the doom and gloom, brands and marketers know one undeniable fact: brick-and-mortar stores will never completely die off—at least not anytime soon. Having a place where the public can physically interact with a brand or product still carries a lot of weight in both the minds of consumers and retailers. Other reasons for optimism include select examples of success seen amidst the ongoing carnage, like fast-fashion groups such as H&M, Zara, Uniqlo and Primark continuing to press on with U.S. expansion plans (even though recent sales figures point to an overall slowdown for this sector, with Uniqlo in particular just conceding its need to diminish future developments due to underperforming suburban markets, according to numerous sources).

While some organizations are rightfully looking at this instability with fearfulness, others see the opportunity to reimagine operations in ways that weren’t previously possible, thus reducing inefficiencies and overall costs. In other words, it’s becoming a hall pass for brands to make drastic changes that will ultimately benefit their efforts well into the future. So with that in mind, how can brand marketers work alongside these operational shifts to continue driving shoppers into stores during this key transition period, and beyond? KSM and ORC International set out to answer exactly this in our most recent retail shopping study, the 2016 Brick-and-Mortar Consumer Study (BMCS), which gathered 1,000 responses from a representative sample of U.S. adults.

Top influencers driving shoppers into stores

It’s interesting to note that while online sales are taking a bite out of retail location revenues, the top marketing influencers currently driving shoppers to visit stores aren’t necessarily the newest formats. The most influential marketing sources driving in-store shopping (listed as “extremely” or “very” influential by respondents) are...

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