Store location can still drive growth amid rise of e-commerce

Ayman Beydoun, chief operating officer of BFL Group
Ayman Beydoun, chief operating officer of BFL Group

Rohma Sadaqat

Published: Tue 12 Oct 2021, 3:26 PM

As retailers adapt to the digital trends and shift to being multichannel, in-store customer experience still holds great value, and this is why choosing the right location remains vital to the success of retailers, experts have said.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Ayman Beydoun, chief operating officer of BFL Group, said that even though e-commerce is becoming more and more popular these days, 82 per cent of customers still prefer the ‘physical shopping’ experience. “We cannot disregard the fact that this trend has heightened competition and that it prompted retail in-store to be more strategic, especially in planning business expansion. The retail market may be transforming in ways unimaginable, but the phrase, ‘location, location, location’, coined by Harold Samuel still holds the same weight in today’s market.”

“When deciding on a place to set up a business, we usually consider several factors including the trends and market performance of the area, as well as future developments and the reputation it holds. This is not an easy task, but if done properly and precisely, selecting a favorable position will help set up any business for success,” he explained.

Another major factor to remember, especially when the brand is planning to expand its market reach, is choosing a location with the most accessibility to customers. “This must be a priority. We always search for locations close to our customers since the initial goal is to make shopping as convenient as possible for them. Setting up a store near the heart of a city, for example, is very convenient to a large customer base since there are a lot of transportation routes available and adequate parking space.”

Aside from potential retailers, the brand should also consider other stores present within the area. Having a cluster of other retailers with the same target market nearby can become a blessing in disguise, Beydoun noted, especially for companies that have clearly identified their unique selling points. Strategic placement of stores also makes products more accessible to people. Shoppers usually go to these areas for leisure and business alike, guaranteeing increased visibility of products to potential customers.

“Maintaining a holistic approach and comprehensive research before deciding on a location is another good strategy, and one which has worked for our 74 stores spread across five countries,” Beydoun said. “We make sure to find a strategic area for our stores because we consider it already as a marketing strategy in itself. Top brands that establish a store in popular commercial areas are sending a subtle message that they are successful enough and can afford this location. In addition, your visibility in a bustling area is a major advertising and marketing gain.”

Online and offline shops have numerous benefits, he added, and companies should learn to synergize their strengths to maximize their potential. Amid the rise of e-commerce platforms, physical stores add value to the company and its customers which will be very challenging to attain with online shops alone. “This is why top retail brands still take a lot of time and effort in looking for a strategic location for their business.”

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