Retail today- As traditional retail struggles in many ways with new realities, there exist a pair of myths that persist and pervade most conversations related to the industry. They are:
• Retail brick and mortar is shrinking
• Technology will eventually destroy brick and mortar retail
Such myths are exactly that and, upon further examination, quite far from reality. That said, there are a dizzying array of trends and data that should be reviewed and scrutinized in order to understand what is really going on and the best way forward.
E-commerce is growing
There is no denying that e-commerce is on the rise and growing at a faster rate than in store with sales values expected to reach $414 billion this year. Not surprisingly, Amazon is still king with 44 percent of all e-commerce sales, roughly four times that of Ebay. Amazon, does struggle, you might be interested to know, however, with luxury offerings as consumers are both fearful of knock-offs (watches and jewelry) and desirous of experiencing (touching, feeling, trying on) such items in person.
Much of this e-rise is generational. Generation Z, despite having ultra low incomes, spend the highest percentage of their income online of all demographics (9 percent), while 40 percent of men and 33 percent of women (18-34) say they would ideally like to buy everything online. Some of this preferred usage is also perceptual. Seventy-one percent believe they get a better deal online than in stores when that is often not the case, in particular with Amazon (more chinks in the armor). Convenience is another key factor with 60 percent of all adult Americans saying they like avoiding a crowded mall or store. And, wrapping all of this into a neat little package, of course, is technology — from computers to tablets to smart phones. For some traditional retailers it is not hard to fathom a disdain for technology. However, when understood and utilized correctly, tech can and does serve as an important driver for brand loyalty and creating a true customer experience.