We’re deep in the heart of the modern retail landscape. Retail brands with a business model based on brick-and-mortar have announced massive losses, and many plan to close hundreds of stores across the country. It’s the destruction of an old business model and the evolution of the new retail industry. Bold retailers willing to experiment will ultimately reap the bounties of the new retail wild.
“Everything must go: There’s a flood of store closings,” CNN – It’s common knowledge, the fall of brick and mortar is upon us. Physical stores that fail to quickly adapt to major technological shifts (a prerequisite in retail today) are failing and it is not a surprise. However, it’s overstated to say that brick-and-mortar retail is dead. Yes, the old model of ‘building and waiting for customers’ is obsolete, but more and more forward-thinking retailers are constructing new physical stores because that strategy makes their customers happy.
“Report: Google Eyes First U.S. Retail Location Near NYC Apple Store,” Mashable – This story is a perfect counterpoint to the cries of “Brick-and-mortar is doomed!” Google, perhaps the most technologically forward thinking company today, announced that it would construct a new US retail store in SoHo, the heart of NY’s fashion mecca. In order to find new fans and rekindle customer relationships with their products, Google decided to create a face-to-face, physical location where people could interact with their products. This move underscores the fact that customers today still want to physically interact with products in addition to using e-commerce.
“How a Startup Created the No. 1 Rated Mattress on Amazon,” <Re/Code> Tuft and Needle is a company that cuts out the middleman in the mattress buying process, saving consumers a substantial amount of money in the pursuit of a perfect night’s rest. Instead of opening up physical locations, Tuft and Needle sells its mattresses—purchased directly from the wholesaler—to consumers through Amazon. This company is another beautiful example in e-commerce because it underscores retail’s ultimate mission: Use all available tools to give the customer what he or she wants.
“Creepy or useful: When retail employees start recognizing you with Google Glass,” The Washington Post – In the new retail landscape, retailers have been rushing to adapt their stores to meet the needs of their customers. But every retailer always needs to consider this question in any of these pursuits: “Is what we’re doing actually improving the customer experience?” The author of this story points out that amidst the complex interplay between software, hardware and customer relations, a customer could simply walk up to a sales associate and state what he or she is looking for. This simple act obviates the need for high tech upgrades.