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New Study Highlights Brick-and-Mortar, E-Commerce Connection

As e-commerce continues to grow in popularity among customers, a new study from the National Retail Federation and research firm Forrester shows that retailers are finding new ways to meet customer needs both online and offline.

The State of Retailing Online study surveys retailers to learn how they’re responding to e-commerce obstacles and opportunities. NRF says retailers “clearly see the value of physical stores, particularly as e-commerce costs are increasing.”

More than half of the retailers surveyed within the report will open brick-and-mortar locations in 2018, and 36 percent will have a higher store count than in 2018. Just 7 percent of respondents said their total store count would fall.

“Retailers are evolving with customers’ shopping behaviors by creating a seamless shopping experience online and in store,” says NRF vice president of research development and industry analysis Mark Matthews. “From pop-up stores to social marketing, retailers are finding innovative ways to engage and acquire new customers.”

For the first time, advertising on social media surpassed search engine marketing. Of survey respondents, 55 percent plan to increase spending on social media marketing, compared to 51 percent of retailers who are focusing on paid search opportunities like Google Ads.

“The marketing mix is palpably changing,” says Sucharita Kodali, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester. “Not only has social knocked search marketing from its spot as the top-growing digital marketing tactic, but retailers are also tapping into video marketing and online marketplaces as increasingly important tools for product discovery and research.”

The entire State of Retailing Online study is available to NRF members starting March 25.

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