New York based market-intelligence-company PSFK insists that brands and retailers need to reinvent their physical stores to better connect with todays’ consumers. Online sales continue to rise through the roof, and this has led many businessmen and entrepreneurs to predict the complete death of bricks and mortar retailing. Marc Andreessen , Silicon Valley entrepreneur and venture capitalist agrees. “Retail guys are going to go out of business and e-commerce will become the place everyone buys.” This situation has not been realized in the fashion industry, however. In the clothes arena physical spaces are more effective than ever, and a couple of e-retailers have made the decision to migrate to a bricks and mortar presence. You’ve got to learn to judge what the consumers of your particular product need to encourage them to buy. It seems that the general rule of thumb is the higher priced your items are, the more likely your customers are to want to physically look at them. The senses of touch and smell are incredibly important in creating the atmosphere of high end, luxury goods. One of the main selling points of all luxury items is how they feel. The gorgeous fabric that glides across the skin, the soft leather interior that you can also smell. Hand in hand with this is exclusivity. If your business only carries a few lines, it is more likely to be viewed as high end and thus the physical shop will become more necessary. The psychology of crowd behavior is a fascinating thing, and offers opportunities for retailers to benefit from its revelations. It is a lot easier to gauge your competition when opening a retail store however. You can literally walk round the area and see what’s there. Online retail is a totally different animal. You are competing with a saturated market, much of which is offering the same product as you are. But conversely, your customer base vastly surpasses a retail store. Due to the relative cheapness of running an online store, some combination of the two is logically reasonable. Do your research , and you will be able to formulate a retail plan that suits your business, and offers you a great return for your investment.