In today’s world of online retailing, rising rents, business rates and shopper apathy you may wonder if there are any reasons at all why you should do the above. In fact, many would say it’s suicidal to put bricks and mortar stores at the centre of your retail strategy. Whichever way you look at it developing your online presence would seem to make the most sense. From the retailer’s perspective the attraction of 24 hour opening, zero rent and business rates, and the ability to reach out to your customers in the privacy of their own homes make compelling business sense. From the consumer’s perspective being able to compare prices and browse from the comfort of their sofa, avoid parking charges and challenges, cut lengthy shopping trips and buy in an instant when it suits them just makes good sense all round. So why exactly would retailers want to put stores at the centre of everything they do? Because simply put there are three very powerful reasons why physical store formats should play a pivotal role in any retail marketing strategy. 1. Physical stores have prime advertising space in the form of windows, floor space and walls that are already paid for. Imagine the cost of paying for this prime high street space through outdoor media channels. Creative window displays are an integral part of your overall brand experience. Witness the above photo of a recent Macy’s window in New York. Additionally, judicial use of POS Displays, FSDUs, signs and graphics can help convert browsing visitors into paying customers. 2. Physical stores have the personal touch. Websites, despite online chat and telephone support lines can never replicate true face to face contact and the personal service that store sales staff can give to the customer. Simply put conversion rates in stores i.e. visitors who go on to buy a product or service are far higher than online – fact. 3.Finally, your brand should be on display wherever your customers go. As customers are spending more of their time and money on leisure visits to the cinema and restaurants, your physical stores in the right locations can give your brand exposure just at the time when your customers are most relaxed and open to combining a bit of shopping with a trip to town to see the latest movie. Of course online retailing is here to stay and will continue to grow in importance. However, properly executed instore marketing campaigns will help give regular exposure to your brand, not only getting customers into your stores but also driving traffic to your online store.