Retailers are asking themselves, “What do we need to do with our stores?”
A survey of retail executives, the vast majority of them from primarily brick-and-mortar chains, found widespread concern about enhancing the value of their physical stores.
The polling from RIS News and Gartner found that more than one-third of respondents said optimizing stores and upgrading store-level bandwidth and infrastructure would be a top challenge in the coming years.
Worry about physical stores fits the industry narrative of the moment, with chain after chain announcing new or expanded efforts to shutter brick-and-mortar locations. A recent study estimated that efforts to close stores actually need to be accelerated if the industry as a whole is to address a glut of retail space.
The concern among retail executives aligns with recent consumer surveys showing that consumers still value in-store experiences even as they express a desire to be left alone to shop and research with their phone while wandering the aisles.
“The challenge is how to enhance the physical assets by combining them with new strategies, technologies and experiences,” the RIS/Gartner report said.