RetailNext: Contrary to Gloomy Reports, Retail Stores Far from Dead
Monday, March 20th, 2017
Retailers continue to face growing challenges with the rise of online retailing. RetailNext Inc., the worldwide market leader in IoT smart store analytics for optimizing shopper experiences, has found that 2017 brick-and-mortar retail sales continue to experience significant decreases, according to the company's latest Retail Performance Pulse report.
And, Moody's recent report shows the number of distressed U.S. retailers is at the highest level since the Great Recession, with thousands of retail layoffs and bankruptcies of big box stores. With the rise of online retailing, traditional retailers are facing a downward spiral with intense competition and limited financial flexibility. Online shopping has garnered buzz with substantial growth over the holiday season and retailing giants have invested heavily in digital channels to drive top line growth.
However, despite the growth of online shopping, brick and mortar presence is still critical to success.
"Retail stores are not dead. The retailers who continue to embrace change in their business models will be well positioned for today and in the future," said Shelley E. Kohan, vice president of retail consulting at RetailNext. "Before the internet, it made sense for brands to expand their physical presence into new and underserved markets, but with digital shopping behaviors firmly established, many brands in the United States are crippled with too many stores and too much space. It's critical for stores to be reinvented in order to blend seamlessly with a brand's established digital touchpoints."
Traditional e-commerce brands like Amazon, Warby Parker, Bonobos and Rent the Runway have opened brick-and-mortar stores in the last two years, resulting in profitability and low-cost customer acquisition, according to Kohan. "This is not a case of 'build it and they will come.' Instead of opening stores in areas where traffic needs to be driven, brands should invest in building out attractive stores in areas that already have high traffic. Use the traffic-driving budget instead to deliver an exceptional in-store shopping experience and market toward shopper retention and loyalty," Kohan said.
"The same actions toward addressing shopping trip abandonment online need to be applied in-store through customer service to eliminate friction points for the customer and achieve higher conversion rates. While each shopping touchpoint, digital or physical, has its inherent advantages, none will ever be able to do it all alone. The reinvention of stores to integrate with online platforms is essential to a brand's future success."