Retail

Study Finds New Store Openings Lead To Boost In Online Traffic

A report has found that opening a new brick-and-mortar location can cause a significant boost in a retailer’s online traffic.

According to a recent ICSC study, “The Halo Effect: How Bricks Impact Clicks,” when retailers invest in brick-and-mortar stores, their online presence grows. The data shows that opening a new physical store leads to a 37 percent average gain in overall traffic to a retailer’s website and increases its share of web traffic within that market by an average of 27 percent. The report notes that physical stores can act like “billboards” for brands, and retailers can use both stores and online retail to drive traffic to each other.

And the opposite also holds true, as web traffic usually falls when a store closes its doors.

“The clicks versus bricks debate is over. We have long suspected that there is a direct and positive correlation between having both a physical and a digital presence, and the Halo Effect study confirmed this,” Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC, said in a press release. “What we are seeing now is a retail renaissance as both new and established retailers are investing in their stores and reinvigorating their physical presence.”

The study, the largest of its kind, looked at web traffic for retailers that opened or closed a total of 804 stores in 145 markets, covering a population of 222 million residents.

The data also showed that physical stores can also drive market performance and improve customer perception. In fact, customers in markets where retailers have stores tend to consider those brands 69 percent of the time, compared to 51 percent in general.

“The physical store is the hub of customer experience and service,” McGee added. “Consumers today want to choose where and when they shop. Retailers that innovate and create a true omni-channel experience, leveraging the strengths of both physical and digital, will thrive.”

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