Maybe it is just pure coincidence, but a sizeable portion of our blog posts so far in 2014 has focused on issues facing the retail industry. For whatever reason, the news media seems to be spending a good deal of time investigating retailing, with their primary emphasis on store-based retailers. As we have noted several times, store-based retailers face significant pressure from competitors that sell exclusively online, such as Amazon, Zappos, and Newegg, to name a few. These Internet companies have attracted millions of customers by providing a highly customized shopping experience, tailored to individual shoppers, along with extremely competitive pricing.
The impact of online retailers has been devastating for many prominent retailers. For instance, back in 2011 we listed a number of famous retail names that have gone away. More recently we see other big chains struggling such JC Penney, Barnes & Noble and Radio Shack.
So what do store-based retailers need to do to survive? Some strategies for survival may be found in this Internet Retailer story. Yes, it may seem surprising that a trade magazine named Internet Retailer would publish a story addressing brick-and-mortar issues; nevertheless the recommendations contained in the story seem reasonable.
The ideas presented for fighting back against online sellers are from executives of leading retail chains and commercial real estate firms, as well as industry insiders representing research firms and consulting services. The advice for fending off online sellers includes improving the overall shopping experience, integrating mobile devices for use by store employees and better analysis of data from customers’ visits to the store.
Image by Pondspider