Online stores must complement physical shops, says retailer group


Posted at Apr 09 2019 07:50 PM

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MANILA—Retailers need not worry about technology supplanting physical stores, an official of a retailers group said Tuesday. 

Rosemarie Ong, president of the Philippine Retailers Association, said that instead of pitting "brick and mortar" stores against their online counterparts, where people just "click" to buy things, retailers should look at how "clicks" can complement "bricks."

Ong, senior vice president and COO of construction hardware and home furnishings retailer Wilcon, said in her company's experience, the launch of its online store sent more foot traffic to their physical stores. 

"In Wilcon, we have the physical store, we have the products that you see there but we also enhance it with our hub," Ong said in an interview with ANC's "Market Edge."

Customers often browse items on their online store and read info about things they want to buy, but they also personally check out these items at Wilcon's physical stores. 

Ong said Filipino customers still want a human connection, and they want to see, feel and touch an item before buying it. 

The impact of technology, including artificial intelligence, on the retail industry will be one of the main topics in this year's National Retail Conference and Exhibition, which will be held in August, said Ong.