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Is brick-and-mortar retailing really dead?

Industry pundits have long been tolling the bells of doom on the concept of physical stores. After all, why would customers drag themselves to a brick-and-mortar store when they can do all of their shopping online? For retailers, establishing and staffing a physical store is a significant overhead. Eliminating those costs and selling products direct to customers in their own homes sounds like a dream scenario.

The reality is that while an online presence is absolutely essential for retail success these days, customers still like to visit a physical store to shop. It seems that the experience of shopping, engaging the senses with sights, sounds and interaction with other human beings still holds some allure over the relative sterility of ordering from a computer screen.

Brands recognise that their stores are a potent tool in their quest to attract customers and provide a compelling experience. Major shopping centre operators have recognised the need to provide a superior experience with entertainment and dining options transforming them from a conglomeration of retailers into a destination in and of themselves.

Of course, fitting out a contemporary retail environment is a costly and complicated operation. Getting it right is crucial to the success or failure of any store.

Enter Diverse Project Group. Established in 2002, the award-winning Perth based company counts many of Australia’s largest and well-known retail brands among their customers. With a long heritage in quality joinery manufacture and an organisation-wide commitment to excellence, Diverse Project Group has grown steadily to become one of Australia’s most awarded fitout companies.

The covid pandemic has made interstate work more difficult for companies with national coverage. Over the past 18 months, lockdowns and quarantine regulations have meant that flying teams interstate is often no longer viable and companies are looking toward local providers to complete fitouts. 

Winner of the past three consecutive IFA WA Fitout of the Year Awards, Diverse Project Group has established itself as a safe pair of hands in the West. Working collaboratively with industry partners on the East Coast, the company has experienced a mini boom in recent years despite the challenges introduced by the pandemic.

This year saw the completion of several major shopping centre extension projects around the country with hundreds of new tenancies eagerly snapped up by brands positioning themselves for the inevitable post-Covid retail bounce. Customers weary of the stresses of isolation and lockdowns will be looking for interaction and dare we say it, physical contact with other humans.

Brick-and-mortar is not dead. In fact, it may be more relevant than ever. 

About the author: Nathan Reid is Marketing Manager at Diverse Project Group.
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