As if you needed more evidence of the shift from bricks and mortar to e-commerce, a recent analysis by A.C. Nielsen predicts that Amazon will be the top clothing retailer by 2017. That is just one of the many trends that are turning traditional retail upside down as we watch brands from Macy’s to Walmart spend billions to address the challenge.
Today’s shopper thinks nothing of ordering a dress or pair of shoes online, trying them on and if they don’t fit, sending them back. The relationship is with the online retailer’s website, not a person. No waiting in line, bad attitudes or ineptness by store staff are key factors in the shift that threatens millions of brick-and-mortar retail jobs.
Even restaurants and supermarkets are facing the challenge of not just serving fresh food to their customers, but delivering the food to the doorstep. Logistics companies will benefit from the lifestyle shift. Only convenience stores, clubs, sporting goods, and discount retailers showed significant sales growth in the past half-decade.
In recent days, I’ve had discussions with Creative Energy clients on developing e-commerce plans that would never have occurred just a few years ago. These strategies require opportunities to bypass mid-tier distributors that have typically added 30% to the cost of end users that can be diverted to offset shipping costs that online customers expect to be free. If you are into bricks and mortar, you’d better be well on your way to an e-commerce strategy, or have compelling reasons why driving to your place is better than shopping online.
The A.C. Nielsen numbers are a smack-in-the-face moment. Start challenging your own thoughts on how you take your goods to market and take advantage of the new paradigm before you get left behind. In the end, haircuts, surgery and funeral homes will be the only segments left for bricks and mortar.