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When ecommerce activity skyrocketed during the pandemic, many were quick to call it the death of brick-and-mortar retail. But now that the 20%+ growth rates in ecommerce have fallen into single digits, many others are saying it was all just a fad.

The problem with both accounts is that they pit the ecommerce vs. brick-and-mortar as competing formats rather than recognizing their co-existence as concurrent, even complementary, channels.

It’s not about the channel. It’s about the customer.

As more paths to purchase emerge, the customer journey from awareness to sale becomes more complex. Retailers don’t need to pick a winning channel. They need to pick a winning strategy.

Customers don’t want to be forced to choose one over the other. They want more options and less friction. So retailers need a strategy that helps customers shop, buy and receive goods however and whenever they want.

Related: 3 Kinds of Ecommerce Data Insights Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Must Use to See Significant Growth

The rise (and plateau?) of ecommerce

When ecommerce first entered the scene, it enjoyed double-digit growth rates for years. It reached a particularly noticeable spike during the pandemic. As pandemic restrictions eased, customers rushed back to stores, and ecommerce growth rates fell back to the levels expected by a more mature industry.

The pandemic disruption of 2020 has now settled to more stable levels, with both ecommerce and retail growth rates forecasted to maintain single-digit levels for the foreseeable future. It’s not a zero-sum game. One is not eating into the other.

Retail’s staying power

While many retail stores did shutter both before and during the pandemic. Data from Coresight Research shows that U.S. store closures between September 2021 to 2022 fell 55%. Despite the growth in ecommerce over the past few years, only 20-25% of sales occur online. That means 75% to 80% of sales…

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