George Freney is the co-founder of Booodl, a smart local shopping app, which tracks down products and brands in the shops located nearest to a shopper using it.

Freney says that contrary to popular belief, bricks and mortars stores are not being hammered by online sales but are starting to come into their own as the drawbacks for digital shopping for customers and online retailers start to become more obvious.

“It comes down to the core economics of how people deliver products,” Freney says. “About 18 per cent of sales are spent on logistics and fulfilment costs.

“Products sit there in a warehouse and they send them out one by one to individual customers. It starts to become too expensive. It becomes a problem for retailers.”

He says shoppers are already beginning to view physical retail stores as more convenient and cost effective but he says retailers can be held back if people cannot view what products shops have online before they hit the high street.

Digital is starting to plateau and fall away, he firmly believes, although some products lend themselves to online retailing.

Booodl’s vision is to make it possible for people to find exactly what they want online at the closest shop. Eventually, this will mean being able to see the entire range of a shop’s products online and find out whether it’s in stock before going out to buy it.

For example, you could search for Chuck Taylor Converse trainers size 9 near Randwick or iPads in Redfern and the closest shops that have them will be listed.

He says the “vast majority of us” enjoy the social aspect of shopping and there was a trend for some purely online retailers to start have a physical store as well.

“People like to see things and touch them. People are searching more and more in location-centric ways. Booodl makes it easier to find stores that sell the product you want.

“As physical stores become easier to discover, people will push shopping back to that.”

But he warns that to take advantage of this, stores need to start cataloguing their products on their websites and directing customers to where products can be found in the store. Ideally they would also be able to tell the customers whether the item is in stock. He says it is also important to make a visit to a bricks and mortar store an engaging experience.

Could better online product indexing be the beginning of a bricks and mortar renaissance?