It’s not fake news if you see it with your own eyes. And for the last couple years, you’ve seen many store closings in your hometown, local mall and shopping centers.
And you’ve seen multiple news reports of major retailers closing doors in record numbers. High profile giants like Macy’s, Sears, Payless Shoe Source closed unprofitable stores in many locations. Toys ‘R’ Us shuttered all of their stores.
According to Jeremy Bowman of Motley Fool, we’ve had a whopping 8,600 closures just in the last year. So it’s not surprising to hear some marketers say “retail is dead.” But when you look at the facts, you’ll find reports of retail’s death are exaggerated.
According to growth expert Will Robins of feedster.com, despite the closures, a whopping 94% of retail sales is still produced in brick and mortar stores. Human emotions and correspondence play a significant part in shopping and that is why brick and mortar retail is still essential.
Robins says some brick and mortar companies suffered largely because of their lack of pro-active planning. But on the flip side, some , a strategically focused their attention and proactively devised strategies to cope with the uptick in online shopping. Those retailers are doing fine.
There are a dozen or so retailers that are filling vacancies as soon as they can find them and you’ve probably seen proof of that yourself. According to Jeremy Bowman, writing in The Motley Fool, the top twelve retailers adding locations and taking over spaces are:
- Five Below— a discount retailer focused on items like toys, games, gadgets and candy with everything priced at $5 or less.
- Primark— a discount-priced, British, fast-fashion retailer.
- Party City — the nation’s biggest party-supply retail chain.
- TJX Companies — the parent of chains like T.J. Maxx, Marshall’s, and Home Goods
- Dollar General— the discount retailer that operates as a hybrid between a convenience and a discount store.
- Aldi — a European discount grocery chain.
- Bonobos — the menswear brand acquired by Walmart
- Ulta Beauty —the nation’s largest retailer of beauty products.
- Dave & Buster’s — offering entertainment like video games, bowling, and billiards in addition to food and drink.
- Planet Fitness— though not technically a retailer, the fast-growing budget-priced gym deserves a spot on this list as it’s a popular option for filling mall real estate.
- Wegman’s — a popular northeastern supermarket chain
- Dick’s Sporting Goods — the nation’s leading sporting goods retailer
Robins and feedster.com identified several strategies retailers are using to stay relevant and successful, including “Click and Collect” which allowing customers to shop and pay online and self-pick-up from store. Consumers also want the option to return an online purchased item to a physical store.
Customers have lots of choices, so you MUST provide a “Memorable In-store Experience” Robins says.
A few retailers, such as Best Buy, are adding sales teams who will visit customer’s homes and recommend products. Having a seamless connection between your online and in- store experiences is critical. Target’s mobile app shows you in which aisle the product you want is located. Sam’s Club “Scan & Go” app allows you to choose, scan and pay for products in the store with your phone as you put them in your cart and then walk right past the registers.
Looking at these trends, it’s pretty obvious that retail isn’t dead – it’s just getting rid of the dead wood. ##