"If you follow the state of retail at all, you know things aren't looking good for brick and mortar. At a glance, all signs point to an ongoing retailpocalypse..
Estimates suggest that 15-30 percent of shopping malls will close in the coming years. This isn't a surprise, since foot traffic dropped 50 percent from 2010 to 2013. CNN Money reports that a record 8,600-plus stores are estimated to close in the U.S. this year.
The retailpocalypse isn't necessarily a clear indicator of the state of retail at-large. What's happening isn't gloom and doom, but rather, a powerful change in this space. It's a real opportunity for smart retail leaders who can recognize and capitalize on one of the single most important shifts in the market in years."
"Sears Holdings continued its steady drip of store closures Friday with the announcement that it would close 35 more Kmart locations and eight Sears stores.
J.C. Penney has said it will shutter 138 locations, roughly 14% of its stores, and give buyouts to 6,000 employees. Macy’s plans to shut 68 stores. Radio Shack, which has sought bankruptcy protection twice in two years, has closed more than 1,000 locations since Memorial Day weekend. And one-time mall favorites Bebe, The Limited, and Wet Seal have closed or are in the process of shuttering all of their storefronts."
"So the key to survival has less to do with mindless debates about “digital vs. brick and mortar” than it does about putting customers at the center and building out operations that can service them effectively.
That’s how you get disrupted. You become a square-peg business in a round-hole world. Clearly, this is what most retailers are facing today. They act as if they are still operating in an environment where the function of a physical store is to drive transactions, rather than to provide an immersive physical experience, build personal relationships and upsell.
The good news is that the opportunities are endless. Apparel retailers can become style guides. Toy stores can become playrooms. Electronic retailers can demo the newest gadgets and help even the most tech averse customers adopt technology that will enrich their lives. The best part is that these strategies can also reduce inventory and rental costs while at the same time expand reach to smaller urban locations and pop up shops."
"They are sharp retailers operating in a tough, competitive environment. They have used customer service as a strategy to build customer loyalty, as their competitors have. But in addition, they have gracefully moved into the digital age, exploiting data and technology to create a better customer experience.
Create killer experiences that resonate with customers, especially customers who like to take advantage of technology"