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Do Stores Still Matter?

I’m an unabashed fan of shopping in stores. I enjoy the hunt, the thrill of seeing new wares presented in new ways, working with knowledgable and engaged sales consultants – whether a high-end clothing purveyor, the deli manager or the grocery checkout clerk – who enjoy helping me find what I need or just plain want. And I know that I’m not alone.

Stores play a pivotal role for shoppers and marketers. It’s the playground where we meet one another, learn what common interests we may share, meet one another’s needs and exchange things of equal value – my money and your product – and thereby each feel enriched.

Though study after study show that 70% of all purchase decisions (including unplanned purchases, generally but not specifically planned purchases, brand switching, SKU switching wihtin a brand and the like) are made in-store, this does not guaratee success for any given store, chain or channel.

Look no further than music retailing. How has Apple changed how music is sold? This infographic shows how the entertainment retailing industry has undergone a sea change. Gone are the Tower Records and Camelot Music stores that once dominated music retail, rolled up into the money-losing FYE chain. Once music could be distributed digitally and downloaded legally one-song-at-a-time, the need to buy “albums” in a store diminished. The same is happening with movies and games. Blockbuster was once king; it’s no longer jack. I wouldn’t buy stock in Gamestop today for the same reason: digital delivery will eventually rule there too. Even Coinstar’s redbox juggernaut will eventually fall into decline.

But, until you can deliver Rice Krispies, angora sweaters and automobiles digitally, retail will remain crucial to the successful and cost-effective distribution and purchase of most consumer products. And Tusco Display will keep helping bring marketers and their shoppers together in the most persuasive and pervasive advertising medium ever invented: the retail store.