CBRE Report: Retailers’ Omnichannel Progress Belies E-Pocalypse Myth

August 28th, 2017 Member News

Analysis Finds Traditional Retailers Collectively Outselling Pure-Play E-tailers Online

Salt Lake City—August 28, 2017—A popular myth holds that pure-play e-commerce is taking over traditional retailing. But a new report from CBRE outlines how the opposite may be true: Brick-and-mortar retailers account for roughly half of online sales and related activity.

The latest installment in CBRE’s Beyond the Headlines series outlines how, rather than being wiped out by e-commerce, many traditional retailers instead have evolved into omnichannel merchants operating both online and in stores. As a result, retailers born of bricks and mortar now collectively generate slightly more than half of U.S. online sales, according to CBRE’s analysis.

Additionally, traditional retailers are expanding into more U.S. distribution space than their online-only rivals. CBRE calculates that traditional retailers accounted for 58 percent of new leases for retail supply chain spacemeaning retail-specific warehouses and distribution centersin 2015 and 2016. In comparison, pure-play e-commerce operators claimed 32 percent, and wholesale-retail users 10 percent.

“Physical retail and online sales aren’t mutually exclusive,” said Melina Cordero, CBRE Americas Head of Retail Research. “Modern, adaptive retailers have embraced e-commerce as one of several channels to best serve customers. And shoppers increasingly research products both online and in stores before making their purchases.”

The challenge for retailers, however, goes beyond recognizing the importance of omnichannel capability. Assembling a truly omnichannel network of precisely-positioned stores and distribution centers is a necessary but complicated and often expensive endeavor.

“Consumers expect their experience with retailers to be seamless, whether they’re researching the product online and buying it in the store or vice versa,” said Brandon Famous, CBRE Americas Retail Leader and co-lead of CBRE’s Omnichannel Real Estate Practice. “Retailers that make the investment to build and perfect truly omnichannel networks are ensuring the long-term viability of their brand in the changing marketplace.”

To read the full report, click here.

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