For those following the news in commerce, it’s clear that the much-feted ‘death of retail’ has been oversold to say the least. This isn’t to say that there aren’t some important issues to address in the brick-and-mortar sector, or even retail as a whole, but sooner or later a culture of crisis and concern can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
As retail giants like Sephora, TJX and Ulta defiantly (and visibly) buck the trend of any supposed decline for traditional retail, and the expansion of once perceived ‘online’ upstarts like Casper into the physical space further blurs lines between the online and offline worlds, is there really any point in demarcating retail efforts ‘by channel’ any more?
“Not every customer is like you… retailers need to respect the differences among consumers and their key purchasing drivers across different occasions.”
The smart retailers are beginning to understand that the best customer experiences arise when online and in-store complement each other seamlessly. Far from the death of ‘traditional’ retail, this hybrid notion of modern commerce is the key driver of much contemporary evolution.
In his recent excellent article for Forbes – The Stores Strike Back – Steve Dennis articulates a simple but valuable lesson for those looking to stake their future in one particular realm. “Not every customer is like you…” he writes,”Retailers need to respect the differences among consumers and their key purchasing drivers across different occasions.”
While the collapse of the boring middle, as Dennis has it, is no doubt of concern for those struggling to match the pace of increasingly complex consumer expectations, for those with an ear to the ground, great opportunities are there for the taking.