If the headlines are to be believed, retail is in a death spiral and it won’t be long before every brick and mortar retailer closes up shop, and Amazon win’s the Ecommerce battle crushing or acquiring its competition.
Walmart will be nothing more than a ‘legend’ told to our great-grandchildren “Kids there was a place your grandmother and I would go where we could buy 4 tires, 10 liters of Coca Cola, a bowie knife, and socks- all in the same trip.”
I guess at that point Jeff Bezos will have an Amazon Dash button implanted in everyone’s head and we’ll all walk around in some Orwellian nightmare where Amazon drones deliver our every need and desire. Retail fully-commoditized.
As much as I’d like to be able to order Doritos using just my brain waves while the latest season of “Mozart in the Jungle” is streamed on the inside of my eyelids, the truth is that the negative headlines facing retail are much exaggerated and we are not headed for this “Bezosian Future.”
Retail is not going the way of the dinosaurs. Brick and Mortar is not dead. Are we having a correction in the number of stores required by certain retail segments, especially department stores? Absolutely. At the same time, we’re seeing smart retailers open up stores, develop new store formats, and re-adjust their store and online balance (pure play Ecommerce moving to open brick and mortar, traditional retailers expanding ecommerce).
Some bright lights for the retail skeptic:
- 98% of Gen Z are shopping in store according to a recent IBM/NRF report. Gen Z influences approximately $800 billion of US spending and represent a larger cohort than millennials or baby boomers.
- Floor & Décor is poised to be one of the first retail startups in a long time to IPO. More interesting to the retail naysayers should be the fact that Floor and Décor has built a $1 billion per year business on the back of 72 brick and mortar locations- a number it plans to 400 in the coming years.
- Nordstrom is thriving despite department stores being hit the hardest by the current retail climate. Key to their success: Innovation and disrupting their traditional retailing model.
- A whole host of retailers from Dollar General to Dick’s Sporting Goods are opening new stores in 2017. How? Doubling down on the in-store experience that cannot be delivered online.
- Ulta Beauty continues to open stores- 100 this year based on a growth model that leverages the store at the center of the brand experience and uses it as a tool to fuel growth across the company including Ecommerce.
There is no doubt retail has been pushing through a difficult time and hard decisions have to be made, but there is also so much opportunity for those retailers that can find ways to innovate.
So, is the sky falling? No, Chicken Little, the sky isn’t falling.