Bricks and mortar stores struggling to compete with online rivals before the crisis are in even more trouble now. The lockdown has hit the retail industry hard and changed shopping habits forever. Forrester, a market research company, predicts that the pandemic will cost retail $2.1 trillion in lost sales, globally. Shoppers, meanwhile, have been forced online in their droves and discovered, perhaps, that they prefer it there. Some shops will never reopen. Many are already gone, including UK retailers Oasis, Warehouse, Laura Ashley and Cath Kidston. Those that do open again will have to find new ways to coax shoppers back in, and do so against the backdrop of a very uncertain economic outlook.
Now, more than ever, the future of bricks and mortar retail hinges on integrating digital merchandising with physical stores to improve the customer journey, drive footfall, and invigorate in-store sales.
This FT Digital Dialogue, organised in partnership with Adobe, will discuss how bricks and mortar retailers can harness the digital tailwinds produced by the Covid-19 crisis to integrate the best of the virtual world with the best of the material world to help drive in-store sales and growth.