Retail is not dead, but the traditional retail model is.
We are in the midst of a retail transformation. Consumer behavior and mobile technology have dramatically changed the traditional retail model and we’re not done yet. Amazon continues to disrupt retail as it delves deeper into brick-and-mortar with the acquisition of Whole Foods. Daily headlines blast news about bankruptcies and store closures, with the expression ‘retail apocalypse’ frequently mentioned. Meanwhile, customers become better informed and more demanding about what they want to buy, when, where and at what price. And they expect retailers to meet their needs immediately.
These developments dictate the need for retailers to adapt to a new model to accommodate the blurred lines of retail and innovative methods of shopping driven by mobile technology, artificial intelligence and rapidly changing fulfillment options, which are changing the very foundation of customer service. This new model must be customer- centric as consumers now dictate their desired shopping journey.
Stores must accommodate customers who “pre- shop” their assortment online or via their mobile device before they even enter the store. Retailers must adapt their infrastructure to meet today’s consumers’ need for instant gratification with one-day or even same-day fulfillment. Customers expect “more” from their shopping experience – more personalization, a larger assortment, a more fulfilling experience, non- stop entertainment, etc. These are the days of customer-led demand.