One by one, stores in city centres across Scandinavia close down. From small merchandise stores to large textile stores, physical spaces are closing their doors. H&M has downsized several of their spaces both outside and inside Scandinavia. Mango has closed down their store in the centre of Malmo, Sweden and the chain Plint has recently closed their store in the highstreet of Aarhus, Denmark.
"We are closing all of our physical stores because it's not intertwined. We have higher expenses than revenue, while our webshop is doing well". Says Anna Tea Tranaes, store manager of Plint to stiften.dk "It is clear to us that [our webshop is] the future, but it is with bleeding heart that we close our physical stores."
With a fully digital society as the Danish one, it seems a natural leap for the public to also embrace online shopping. The public sector in Denmark is completely digitalized and Denmark is in fact the most digitalized the society in the EU.
Meanwhile some stores have embraced this digital transformation while other stores have not caught on to the market change.
16- to 24-year-olds much prefer the convenience of shopping online. “I only shop online,” said 21-year-old Christian Petersen from Køge, Denmark, “but I have tried shopping in real life. It was such a retro experience,” he added.
Convenience or experience
If shoppers do not get an experience, then they want convenience. “I want to have fun with my friends if I go shopping, otherwise I’ll just shop online instead. But I actually like shopping online, there are so often much more discounts all year round," says Mette P. Larsen from Copenhagen, Denmark.
The booming of social media and Netflix has become direct competition for shopping malls and city centres around Scandinavia. When people leave their screens they want an experience. A fun shopping experience, or sometimes even a unique experience.
Stores have definitely found out how to create extra experiences in the Christmas season, but hereafter very little happens. After the Christmas season, the only thing that happens is the occasional sale in January and again around summer time.
Nonetheless, the experience of Christmas shopping often outweighs convenience. Flying to somewhere else adds the experience to the often very long to-do list of shopping. London has for years been one of the top three locations for Danish people to do their Christmas shopping outside of Denmark. So popular, that even the Danish Queen travels to London to do her Christmas shopping.
A bigger piece
Online stores want a bigger piece of the pie, and understand that they get this if they provide more than mere convenience. Just like Valentine’s day was created to up the consumer spending, so was the Singles Day created by Chinese Alibaba Group. A shopping day also created to increase sales. An aim they have been so successful at, that Amazon and other large online businesses look to Alibaba Group for inspiration.
This year Alibaba Group reached a recorded high of more than $30 billion in sales. A number which is a distant dream for most physical stores today.
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