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May 2021

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 may 2021

Online retail has been consistently eating into the share of brick-and-mortar retail. COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the decline of physical retail in US due to numerous lockdowns, restrictions, social distancing norms, consumer behavior changes etc, and it is struggling for survival. Michelle Greenwald, CEO of Catalyzing Innovation, provides reasons for this decline that will continue to happen even beyond the pandemic - (1) Fewer stores and farther to travel. (2) Retail store experience worsening because space is being devoted to fulfilling online orders. (3) With a lower percent of sales coming from physical retail, allocation of items and sizes to stores can be less, hence it can be harder to find what you hoped to walk out with. (4) Fewer random/unplanned impulse store visits from passing by. (5) Corporate resource/investments are increasingly focusing on further improving online experiences, at the expense of retail. (6) Making stores truly experiential is costly, and hard to justify for many locations. (7) Retail is no longer expected to pay for itself. It's viewed by many as a marketing awareness investment. (8) Muscle memory and post COVID traumatic stress associations make many think twice about shopping in crowded stores. (9) Less in-person retail can reduce the ease of discovering new items. Key Insights - Digital experience is important and it needs to replicate positive in-person experiences; Products might need to limit endless SKU proliferation and focus on fewer, surer bets; Physical stores need to be more exciting and attractive with great locations, venues for events, product sampling, demos etc; In-store customer experience shoud not be effected by online order fulfilment from physical store. Read on...

Forbes: 9 Reasons Why The Future For U.S. Retail Is Dim
Author: Michelle Greenwald



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