WSJ Editor Challenges ‘Retail Apocalypse’ Notion

Brick and Mortar is strong, and retail has transformed and will continue to transform for the foreseeable future. The retailers that incorporate omnichannel into their business model will survive, and the ones that don’t will become extinct. 90% of total retail sales are still completed in stores. Over the last 10 years, overall online retail sales have grown gradually from about 3% in 2007 to about 10% in 2018. People still prefer to buy online, no matter how convenient Amazon is, with it all coming down to customer behavior. Physical retailers are harnessing more customers through their doors with click and collect strategies, and strategic partnerships such as Walgreens, Kroger, Kohls, and Amazon. Brands born online, known as digital native brands, such as Allbirds, Casper, Untuckit, and Warby Parker are opening stores in their own right with an estimated 850 stores to open over the next five years.

The overall retail landscape has changed over the past several years and will continue to evolve moving into the future. It is likely that the shopping center industry will change more over the next five to ten years than it as in the last 50. Online is playing an important role in today’s environment, and retailers are getting creative on how they leverage this with their customers. Omnichannel is a must, but online is not everything. Retailers must learn to engage online but still be able to provide an experience as that is most important to consumers.

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