THE FUTURE OF RETAIL!
If there ever was a year when the future of retail was tangibly more up in the air (especially in the toy business) it would be 2018. The turmoil caused by the Toys R Us debacle is ongoing, and country by country around the world we seem to be seeing more and more physical retail store chains fighting desperately hard to stay in business.
The online retail juggernaut though has not been a sudden surprise! I can remember sitting in an office building in 1999 and having discussions about how online shopping and Amazon was going to change EVERYTHING! Fast forward to today, not far off 20 years later, and we’re suddenly looking at an over dramatised ‘retail apocalypse’ as though it was a surprise!
The scenario we find ourselves in today was an inevitability 20 years ago, yet some physical retailers have fundamentally failed to adapt and change. How come there are still some retailers who were major players in 1999 who are still among the the major retail players today? Why is that? Well, a number of factors are at play, but I believe we have to look at the fundamental point of difference and advantage of physical retail vs online. For sure online can be much more convenient, it is easier, far quicker and far more thorough to price check online and for some people far preferable/easier to let the retailer do the work of getting the product delivered direct to consumer. These factors are a major part of why online has been the nail in the coffin for some physical retailers. We can observe that some of those who have failed did not have great online offerings and often were very late to the party in terms of online adoption/online investment and thus some of them missed the bus. It is no surprise that those market leading physical retailers from nearly 20 years ago are now leaders both offline and online.
There are however, some strong, and very under utilised advantages which are inherently part of physical retail. Those retailers who capture these advantages at the very heart of their shopping experience will be the ones who are still here and thriving in another 20 years time. There’s a clue in this paragrah as to what the fundamental advantage for physical retail is, and will increasingly be.
To get an explanation in full of physical retail’s advantage, please check out our fairly new podcast – Playing At Business. In this podcast we take a look (each week) at a different key issue/trend/theme in the toy industry, or talk to someone interesting from the business.
TO LISTEN TO EPISODE 5 OF THE PLAYIING AT BUSINESS PODCAST – Episode 5 – THE FUTURE OF RETAIL, JUST CLICK THE LINK BELOW:
P.S. If you find our cheap trick (of trying to get people to listen to the podcast to find out physical retail’s advantage) to be annoying, unethical or idiotic, please feel free to drop us a line & we’ll supply the key advantages in bullet point format (although genuinely the explanation on the podcast should be more illuminating than the factors themselves!)