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E-commerce is growing – but retail stores are holding strong

May 19, 2014

E-commerce revenues have been growing consistently for years, leading many to suggest that in-store retail sales would slow down to a crawl in coming years.

E-commerce revenues have been growing consistently for years, leading many to suggest that in-store retail sales would slow down to a crawl in coming years.

One recent Forrester Research study noted that e-commerce sales will account for roughly $414 billion annually by the year 2018. However, a Forrester analyst, Sucharita Mulpuru, recently wrote a Forbes article noting that this does not mean physical retail stores are going to see a sharp sales decline. Rather, credit card payment processing terminals of all sorts – in-store, online and mobile – are likely to share sales increases

According to Mulpuru, he expects consumers to increase their overall in-store retail spending by $300 billion. During the same timeframe, he only expects a $150 billion increase in the amount spent annually online – illustrating how much bigger the market for in-store purchases is than the market for online purchases is, even still. 

“All this growth certainly doesn’t mean that stores are dying,” Mulpuru wrote. “Here’s why: While we expect $150 billion more to be spent online between now and 2018, we expect $300 billion more to be spent offline in that same time. Add to that the money up for grabs that dying retailers like Sears, Office Max, Radio Shack and others will leave on the table and the opportunity for physical retail is actually quite large.”

Mulpuru then went on to dismiss a number of myths about the slowing of in-store retail. He notes that plenty of new retail real estate is forthcoming, despite reports from the contrary, for instance. Mulpuru’s suggestions make it very clear: online credit card payment processing pages are necessary for growing businesses, but in-store sales aren’t going to slow down anytime soon.

Some major brands are still transitioning online
Despite the promise of continued in-store sales, many major brands are still currently working to list and sell their products via online and mobile credit card payment processing pages. For instance, Bustle recently reported that Nordstrom Rack, which has only sold products offline for the entirety of its 25 year history, has now launched an e-commerce page.

Consumers can get the products at the same discounted price offered by Nordstrom Rack locations, strengthening the connection between the two shopping channels. Such practices will likely be necessary for all retailers in future years: in-store sales and online sales will increase in tandem if outlets can convince consumers that the channels are all connected. 

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