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37 Stats Supporting Stores as the Core of Unified Commerce

The numbers speak for themselves.

Unified Commerce is the answer to the challenging circumstances of modern retail. Shoppers demand differentiated experiences. And the store is the ideal sales channel to deliver both.

There’s a lot of ground to cover on the subject matter. And as many opinions clouding the facts. So, we compiled a collection of hard, valuable data on Unified Commerce for stores just for you.

Here’s why stores are the key to unlock Unified Commerce by the numbers. Plus, insight into the data as well as assets that will enrich your understanding of the concepts.

The store is the dominant sales channel

72% of retail sales will still happen in stores through 2028 (Forrester)

Digital channels have not diluted the role of the store as some once thought.

Today, stores are the centerpiece of more than 70% of shopping journeys. Forrester predicts that to be the case for years to come, citing consumers’ desire to experience products with their senses in a way “digital cannot replicate.”

By 2028, offline sales will reach $4.2 trillion in the U.S. and €2.1 trillion in the Europe-5 (Forrester)

Offline retail generated $3.6 trillion in sales in the U.S. in 2022. And store sales are trending upward: not only are they projected to increase by 14% in the U.S. in the next five years, but offline retail has outpaced online retail in the Europe-5 (Germany, UK, France, Italy and Spain) to staggering figures.

Technology will enable up to 2x EBIT margin growth potential through stores (McKinsey)

McKinsey found that retailers can as much as double their potential profitability with omnichannel tech.

As the evolution of omnichannel, Unified Commerce brings McKinsey’s vision of the “store of the future” to life. And as the heart of the Unified Commerce solution stack, Modern Point of Sale (POS) unlocks that vision at its highest potential.

Learn how in this blog: “Retail Leaders Perplexed by the Unified Commerce: The Answer is the Store.”

Stores post advantages and opportunities

eCommerce conversion rates are below 5% (3% in the UK in Q4 2023). Stores convert at ~30% (Statista)

In-store shoppers tend to be more qualified buyers than digital shoppers.

Retailers can be more confident in their store conversions, too. According to David Sobie, co-founder and CEO of Happy Returns, “shoppers return 5-10% of what they purchase in store but 15-40% of what they buy online.”

Despite that, many retailers still put their efforts in driving traffic to, and investments into, their digital channels.

Digital channels are essential to modern omnichannel journeys. But they’re at their best as steps along the journey, not the final destination. Instead, retailers ought to drive traffic to their stores. Retailers can achieve this through their digital channels and with exceptional, differentiated experiences.

Check out Chapter 3 of our Unified Commerce Readiness Guide, “Bringing your value proposition to life through marketing” for the blueprint to driving store traffic.

73% of shoppers prefer stores, but only 9% are “content” with store experiences (IBM)

Don’t let the low figure fool you. The same survey found that only 16% of shoppers were content with digital channel experiences. And stores aren’t just more preferred by shoppers. They’re more capable of meeting the modern demands of shoppers, too.

Retailers who invest in closing the gap between store experience expectations and reality will win on multiple fronts. They’ll better match shoppers’ preferences, drive more traffic to their stores and expose themselves to more revenue and profit potential. Here’s what consumers told IBM they want:

  • 37% More products
  • 26% More information
  • 26% Faster checkout

Mobile POS supports the latter two demands. But retailers can also turn their allocation strategies into a competitive advantage with omnichannel Merchandising and Order Management (OMS) functionality.

Unified Merchandising solutions allow retailers to localize, adapt and replenish assortments in near real-time. And when integrated with a robust OMS solution, retailers can say yes to more product sales faster, cheaper and at an elevated experience.

Retailers would be wise to do so: Forrester says click-and-collect sales will exceed $200 billion by 2028.

Learn how here: “Three ways to modify allocation strategies to optimize the omnichannel store

Stores drive in-demand experiences

75% of shoppers spend more if a store associate delivers a high-quality experience (RetailExpo)

RetailExpo also found that “64% of shoppers say that knowledgeable sales associates make them more likely to visit a physical store.” In short, sales associates add value across the store shopping experience.

“I look at [Unified Commerce] as putting the employee at the center. At the end of the day, the store employees are the ones that are serving the customer,” Ray Etzo, VP of North American Retail at Cole Haan said at Aptos’ Big Ideas Session at NRF 2024. “The better experience they’re having, the better experience your customer is going to have.”

Etzo shared that Cole Haan’s Unified Commerce success is built on the collaboration of business and IT in support of store associates. You can watch the entire session here.

82% of shoppers in the U.S. and 74% of shoppers outside the U.S. want more human interaction (PwC)

Speaking of experiences digital can’t replicate, shoppers are increasingly demanding more human interaction from their shopping journeys. And with 73% of shoppers saying experience is an important part of their buying decisions, retailers should channel their efforts towards their stores.

By equipping their stores with Aptos ONE POS, The North Face empowered their associates to deliver more seamless and human customer interactions. The mobile POS system allows associates to check stock, verify prices and promotions and transact with shoppers anywhere on the sales floor.

Read the case study: “Mobile POS Empowers The North Face Associates to Venture Beyond the Cash Wrap.”

Leading retailers are investing in store experiences

>60% of retailers have implemented Unified Commerce tech in their stores (Bain & Company + Aptos)

Unified Commerce revolves around the store. But it isn’t about shaping stores in the image of digital channels. It’s about using technology to get the most value from the store to benefit retailers holistically.

“Unified Commerce is underpinned by a fundamental understanding that online and offline retail can be utilized together to create a better experience for the customer. In the brick-and-mortar environment, this must start with a willingness to think more broadly about the value ascribed to stores,” Ethan Chernofsky, SVP of Placer.Ai told Aptos for our roundup of 18 expert Unified Commerce perspectives.

“In many ways, Unified Commerce in physical stores is less about bringing new functionality to the table and more about taking advantage of the underappreciated values that have always been there.”

44% of retailers are making improved customer experiences one of their top tech goals in 2024 (CSA)

Experiences drive shoppers. Stores drive experiences.

That’s why almost half of retailers are making improved customer experiences a priority in 2024, a substantial part of the 10% growth in retail tech investments projected for this year, per reporting shared in Chain Store Age.

Customer acquisition (32%) and customer retention (38%) are also top priorities per the report.

A survey of 154 senior retail executives we conducted with Incisiv reinforces these claims, also highlighting that, beyond selling product, differentiating their brand is now retailer’s #1 store priority.

Store events are uniquely positioned to drive experiences, attract shoppers and improve loyalty all with one tactic — and with robust ROI potential.

You can gain insights, glean inspiration and learn more about store events in our asset, “Store events: How can they increase traffic and conversions and foster deeper customer connections.”

Achieve Unified Commerce in only 14-20 weeks with Aptos ONE

96% of retail executives say Unified Commerce is important, with 73% citing it as either “extremely” or “very” important. (Bain & Co. + Aptos)

Aptos ONE unifies the experience and the enterprise and delivers differentiated retail experiences through the store. Our premier Unified Commerce solution is built on more than 40 years of experience in supporting and integrating essential retail functions, implementation in 100,000 stores across 65 countries and almost 250 million customers actively engaged.

Your entire store portfolio can be live on Aptos ONE in a matter of weeks. Book your demo with Aptos now to see how you can take full advantage of your stores and achieve Unified Commerce.

Book your demo today!