Retail’s Not Dead – But it is Facing a Reckoning

As major big-box retailers like Sears and JC Penney have been struggling to make ends meet, retail analysts have been forecasting a gloomy future for brick and mortar stores. The “retail apocalypse” has been a buzzword in 2017, as many more stores are facing bankruptcy amidst hemorrhaging sales, partially due to Amazon’s eclipse of the retail market.

The shopping mall has born the brunt of the retail apocalypse, as many malls have closed in 2017 with a further 25% of American shopping centers expected to shutter by 2020. So is retail dead? No — but it is facing a reckoning.

Long lines. Poor customer service. Disorganized shelves and out-of-stock products. These have long been the pet peeves of the average customer. But thanks to e-commerce, a disgruntled shopper can skip all of the above and shop online. For retailers who refuse to address these challenges head-on, e-commerce competitors will issue a death sentence for physical stores. But smarter shops are finding unique ways to compete with online businesses.

For instance, Sephora continues to see steady sales and quarterly growth. They’ve been early adopters of proving in-store experiences, like make-up masterclasses, along with finding creative ways to buffer the less-pleasant aspects of shopping. Consider their checkout line, which is packed with products to occupy the attention of static shoppers.

The following infographic, courtesy of Fundera, looked at several studies to compile a visual asset that explores what customers love and what they hate about shopping in-store. Retailers now need to refocus their attention on providing customers with a shopping experience that is valuable enough to coax consumers away from their laptops, and back to Main Street.