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Most Stores to Move from Brick-and-Mortar to Online in 10 Years

14 Jun, 2017 By: Doug McPherson

STAMFORD, Conn. – Roughly 66 percent of small business owners who currently run both an online and physical store say they’ll close their physical store within 10 years and operate their businesses solely online, says research from GetApp, a business app review site.

It appears that business owners who run both models are prepared, or are at least aware, that the “retail apocalypse” trend could affect their future sales strategy.

Some have already predicted a “retail apocalypse” in the United States after more than 3,500 stores – including from well-known brands such as JCPenney, Kmart, and Abercrombie & Fitch – closed doors this year. Macy’s has reported it will close nearly 100 stores, or about 15 percent of its store base.

Earlier this year, investor extraordinaire Warren Buffett declared that the department store is now online, referring to the perceptible rate that stores are turning away from the traditional brick-and-mortar model of retail to focus on their online e-commerce stores.

For the study, GetApp surveyed 200 U.S. business owners who operated both online and brick-and-mortar stores. Respondents answered the question: “How likely is it that your business will be fully conducted online within the next 10 years (i.e., you will no longer operate a physical store)?” The top response: likely at 43.4 percent. Extremely likely came in at 22.7 percent; neutral notched 17.2 percent; unlikely was at 12.3 percent; and extremely unlikely registered 4.4 percent.

Anthony Bradley, group vice president of technology research firm Gartner (which owns GetApp), did not necessarily agree with the results and said going solely online isn’t “very realistic.”

However, Bradley says he expects the web to become the front end of the business and the store to become the back end, focusing more on administrative and manufacturing responsibilities than sales.

“In most cases, [the store] won’t go away entirely,” he says, “but it will become minimized.”

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