If You Wish to Escape the Crisis, Innovate

Month of June

The traditional retail sector continues to struggle to avoid steep declines in its sales. Already in 2018, sales in physical stores in the United States fell by 4.1% compared to the previous year. The same is happening in the United Kingdom and other countries around Europe. For that same reason the industry is trying to reinvent itself as quickly as you are reading these lines, whether through new omnichannel strategies, such as opening stores in high traffic hubs (airports, train stations, etc.) or innovating by adopting technologies that play with the customer retail experience once they set foot in an actual store. This way the buyer’s experience is not only enhanced, but it also generates greater loyalty from their customer. And of course, we can’t forget about the companies that are embracing digital to improve their operations, through the opening of new marketplaces and other options offered by the online world for potential buyers. Again, innovation is the answer to the retail world.


The wait is over. A new retail website, called Verishop, is going live Tuesday, with the goal of bringing “joy back to online shopping,” as it goes head-to-head with platforms like Amazon.


The latest retail sales figures for May have come as a breather for investors. Amid a slowdown in U.S. manufacturing activity in May, trade war tensions with China, India and Mexico, the latest retail sales data revives some hope about improvement in U.S. economy. In fact, the sales numbers for April were also revised higher.


If you’re a retailer with multiple stores, measuring the performance of stores is critical to your business. Historically, there have been two metrics fundamental to evaluating retail store performance. The first is sales per square foot. That tells you how a store is performing regardless of its physical size and it’s a great measuring tool for comparing different stores.


Retail brands are investing once again in physical locations with exclusively online brands opening up stores and traditional outlets rethinking their physical retail space.


As Walmart outsources finance and accounting work to New York-based professional services firm Genpact, the retail giant is laying off 569 employees at a corporate office in Charlotte, North Carolina, beginning in September according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification in that state.


In an ongoing power struggle between consumers and retailers, shoppers are winning. Consumers are “very nuanced in their expectations,” Ron Johnson, the former CEO of J.C. Penney and the former senior vice president of Apple’s retail division, said at CNBC’s Evolve Conference on Wednesday in New York. Johnson now is the CEO of Enjoy, a company that’s helping retailers build out mobile stores.


Experience-based retail isn’t a new idea in 2019. In fact, companies are building entire business models around the concept. Take SHOWFIELDS, for example, which pivots on the idea that customers need more than a standard in-person shopping experience. Offering Instagrammable photo opportunities, events, workshops, and more, it leans fully into the idea that experiences are the secret to consumer attention and buy-in.


To help retailers and brands plan for 2019, researcher Claudia Tajima and I are interviewing experts within Forrester for our series, “Applying 2019 Predictions To Retail.” Last week, we spoke to Emily Collins about how loyalty trends will affect retailers this year.


Brands are finding success in airports and other transit hubs, with Estée Lauder bringing in more revenue from airports globally (they accounted for approximately 18% of its total sales in 2018) than it did in department stores in North America last year, according to The Wall Street Journal.


According to Forbes, in 2018 retailers owed their success or failure to how well they adapted to the changing market and the evolving needs of their customers, since chatbots, Artificial Intelligence and augmented reality offered new experiences.


Department stores extended their losing run with clothing and footwear sales falling 4.5 percent — the most since July 2015 — because of unseasonably cold weather.


An iconic American industry is struggling. This sector has long been battered by forces beyond its control: globalization, automation, “disruptive” new competitors, changing tastes. Bankruptcies mount, and workplaces shutter around the country. Big, empty buildings, once bustling with young people, have been left to rot. To add insult to injury, the industry is poised to get slaughtered by President Donald Trump’s escalating trade wars.


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