Yet another new term is about to enter retail vocabulary and it is “dark store”, a store with no customers. A dark store is a dedicated store for online sales and the term probably arose from developments in the supermarket category.
Online supermarket sales were often handled by individual stores in the neighbourhood of the customer. But it was soon found that dedicated stores or warehouses could handle online orders more efficiently than stores dedicated to foot traffic customers.
Dark stores are laid out like a supermarket but with variations to suit online buying habits. For instance, a large proportion of online customers are families with children so the space devoted to things like nappies, toilet paper, and washing powder are different to traditional supermarkets.
Online food buying represents only around 2% of total food sales but with the trend on the rise, we can expect more dark stores to be built.