The Future of the Store

The future of bricks-and-mortar is a hotly debated topic.
min read
Retail Express Team
February 6, 2024
Retail Express Team
February 6, 2024

Table of contents

It’s hard to argue against the fact that stores are becoming more challenging to manage. However, the role of the store in the shopping journey is still as relevant as it has ever been, just in a different way.

In the US, 12,000 stores have closed since 2010 with almost 5,000 of these closing in 2018. (1) However, for each company closing one store, 2.7 companies opened a new store. (2)In the Australian market, shoppers still show a clear preference to visit stores.

Customers Prefer to Shop In-Store

As Retail Futurist Doug Stephens predicts, it is inevitable that the role of the store will shift dramatically over coming years.

“Within a decade, sensor-driven replenishment, predictive analytic technology, immersive digital shopping experiences, subscription programs and a myriad of other connected shopping options—many of which we can’t yet even conceive of—will very effectively cater to our day-to-day product needs. We will order furniture and fashion online with implicit confidence because haptic technologies will give us the ability to touch and feel what we buy before we buy. Apparel-fitting algorithms infused with big data analytics will ensure the items we purchase are almost always ideally suited to both our bodies and our tastes. Using virtual or augmented reality technology in our home or office to shop and connect with product experts will be as common in ten years as shopping in a physical store is today. Save for a very few particular kinds of products, we will have absolutely no need to visit physical stores simply to look at products, as we do today. It’s that simple. Instead, the physical shopping space will become a medium to distribute the most powerful, joyful and emotionally galvanizing experiences possible.”

Amazon, Alibaba, Bonobos and other online-led players have created their own physical stores in the US; their investment indicates their appetite for offline retail. This year, physical retail will continue to venture beyond product, creating memorable experiences that pull customers in and have a stronger (and more emotional) influence over transactional selling. From learning courses, cafes, co-working spaces to bespoke pop-ups, retailers will create more social, tactile and in-store digital experiences that can’t be offered online. However, this does not excuse multi-store retailers from also investing in an online approach that allows their customers to buy on their chosen channel and device. After all, in the above charts, the sum of digital channels represents a higher proportion than preference to shop in-store.

We believe the answer is in the middle, you’ve got to be able to serve customers at the touch point they want to be served”—Ron Harries, VP and Head of Retail Stores at TechStyle Fashion Group




Score your business in each of the critical areas of practice to identify strengths, weaknesses and potential blind spots.

Get the latest retail content in your inbox

Hot tips on inventory management, omni-channel, scaling store and more.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
We hate spam too, we’ll only send you relevant content.

We make switching to cloud POS easy

Our Retail Express onboarding and support team have all had professional experience as retailers and know the challenges you face. That's why it's our priority to ensure switching to our cloud-based POS software is easy.

  • Personal Support Manager: You'll have your own Australian-based Personal Success Manager who'll guide you through the process step-by-step. All costs included. They'll help format and import your data, get you up and running, guide you with your hardware and help with everything associated with set-up.
  • 5-Star ongoing support: Once you're set up, the support doesn't stop. We're renowned for our Australian-based customer support. Each of our experts has professional retail experience and knows the issues you face. Forget being palmed off to a help manual — you'll be individually cared for until we fix your problem, every time.
  • Knowledge Base, Training Academy & webinars: You'll have access to a comprehensive Knowledge Base with all instructions, a video library, Training Academy and more.
Get a Demo
retail pos system

Watch our full free video series at Omni-Channel Leaders Academy

Discover the game-changing practices being used by leading retailers, in our library of short videos.

Highest Impact Marketing & Loyalty Campaigns
In-Store Experience Must-Do's to win more sales
ROI-driven eCommerce Plays to increase revenue
Critical Inventory and Fulfilment Strategies
Watch the FREE videos

Suggested reading