The daily pressure on physical retailers around the world to meet the expected demands from consumers has never been greater.
The bar to compete has been lifted higher than ever before with the ongoing rise of digital commerce from eCommerce websites, Apps, Social Media, and now 'Social Commerce'. For many retailers that bar has proven to be far too high as retail casualties appear in our headlines on an almost daily basis.
As an international retail brand and business consultant I constantly see brands/companies fixated with logo's, mission statements, AI, VR, tech projects, and other such activity - all of which distracts from the real reason the company/brand is struggling. Every single business I've been called into when dealing with a turnaround were on a race to the bottom because they lost focus on the core reason 'why' consumers previously chose to shop with them over a competitor.
If the foundations are crumbling you need to fix that first.
Q) If physical retail is screwed why are e-commerce merchants wanting to open so many physical stores and pop-ups?
A) They recognize the need to reach out and touch the customer as an important part of the 'human component'.
The last few years Physical Retail has been going through an enforced review around how (or even if) they have a future in today's always on, digitally connected, socially savvy and 'I want it now' impatient consumer. I've no doubt the global panic around Covid-19 has yet to show what else the retail impact will be on an already fragile sector straddled with weak balance sheets and downstream supply chain problems.
But can the same be said for eCommerce as we've come to know it, are we also witnessing the beginning of the end of eCommerce?
Daily there are more brands/companies (your current customers and suppliers) electing to go where they never went before which is to build a direct relationship with 'your' customer' and look to cut you out. And the rocket fuel that's helping them get there is the prolific use of social media to help educate, inform, listen, learn, and most likely transact.
Social commerce doesn't require a consumer to be 'driven' to your website, it doesn't require a consumer to spend an age going through your funnel today, that was yesterday!!
eCommerce didn't screw physical retail, it did that on its own by not taking a serious look at changes in consumer behaviour, is the same about to happen to eCommerce?.
Department stores have been hit hardest, with nearly a quarter of the sector's jobs lost since 2008, according to Euler Hermes. Hence the term "destructive destruction," used by Duthoit, rather than the "creative destruction" that some economists see as essential to economic progress.