Hans van Tellingen wrote an article titled Why Bricks Beat Clicks: the true story about the future of retail.

« A few months ago, the book ‘Why Bricks Beat Clicks – the true story about the future of retail -’ appeared on the Dutch market. The original title is: ‘Waarom Stenen Winkels Winnen (en webwinkels verliezen)… I wrote this book together with eighteen co-authors – all retail specialists – to create a broad coalition of experts with deep market knowledge. They all believe – and can substantiate – why brick and mortar stores will always win, and that a business model with an online shop and home delivery service will always remain a loss-making activity. »

« Did you know that 9% of all purchases in the Netherlands in retail are sales from online shops? Therefore, 91% of all purchases take place in a brick and mortar store… These figures are broadly similar to the USA. »

« Did you know that there are actually no larger online shops that are able to make a profit on their retail sales? That heavy haggling occurs with sometimes published (gross) profit figures? That in reality turn out to be large net losses? How is that possible? Of course you have all heard about shipping costs that are not charged. And high percentages of returns – at Zalando more than 50%. »

« The only way for etailers to survive is to start brick and mortar stores. Buy online. Pick up in store. Amazon, AliBaba and the Dutch CoolBlue (and many others) are realising that by now. »

« Since the Netherlands is a ‘biking country’, many researchers want us to believe that car accessibility and parking don’t matter anymore. Sometimes (supported by so-called scientific research – often fake or manipulated data -) we are told that visitors who come by bike or on foot contribute more to store turnover than people who come by car. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

And what about the real figures? Strabo, my company, specialises in consumer research in shopping centres and has conducted research in more than 500 high street and mall locations. We truly know the exact numbers of visitors and the turnover they generate. So these are the true facts:

  • On average, 45% of customers visit a shopping area by car. Car visitors account for 61% of sales. Car visitors spend two to three times as much as those who have come on foot, by public transport or bicycle.
  • Parking charges (in shopping areas where it was for free before) will result in a reduction in the number of customers by about 20% of customers and reduce sales by almost 30%.
  • By removing existing parking charges an increase of around 10 to 15% extra visitors and 20 to 25% extra sales is experienced.

And the most important conclusion? In shopping areas with free parking there are 14% extra visitors. And there is 20% more store turnover. No parking = no business. This maxim still applies and always will. Car ownership and use are still increasing and will continue to do so. According to the CBS – The Dutch National Statistics Agency.   »

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