In recent years, many different brands have closed up shop in a variety of locations. The mall culture that ruled most of the 1990s has also been in its death throes for decades. Former malls have become ghost towns with only a few functioning stores. Some shopping centers have even been bulldozed or put to new purposes.
Yet being a salesperson is one of the most popular career choices in America. Therefore, it’s not so surprising that people are concerned about what has been alarmingly touted as the death of retail.
However, that alarmist scenario doesn’t quite cover the entire picture. It’s far more likely that the retail landscape is evolving rather than dying off entirely. After all, we as a nation have not stopped buying stuff.
Low-cost retailers like Dollar General and high-end brands such as Ulta have continued to open new, physical stores in recent years. It’s the brands operating in the middle of the spectrum that seem to be having the most difficulty. Perhaps this is because of the growing decline of the middle class in America.
The Data Agrees
The massive closure of shops may have something to do with the fact that retail stores have taken over more space in the past twenty years than they can afford to keep. Companies are simply trimming the fat as more and more sales are now taking place online.
There’s no doubt that e-commerce is a growing industry. After all, having a wide selection of reasonably priced goods at your fingertips is just one of the many draws of online shopping. This method also allows you to avoid unhelpful salespeople and driving all over town to find exactly what you need.
However, 91 percent of sales are still taking place in actual stores and the numbers probably won’t go down by that much in the next couple of years. There’s even been a 17 percent increase in consumer spending over the last 5 years, with a nearly 2 percent yearly increase in what is being spent at physical stores.
Numerous companies that started online are now moving their wares to physical stores so that people can see them. After all, shoppers these days are more likely to search for what they want, then head to a store in order to pick it up in person.
Of course, some companies are no longer relevant to modern consumers and have suffered accordingly. The store closures we’ve been seeing are a way to fix a growing problem that might not actually be solvable. Dull marketing schemes might be at fault. Just because the one-size-fits-all campaigns worked for an earlier generation doesn’t mean that they are translating all that well these days.
Retailers have to understand what their customers want in order to be successful. Being creative with sales pitches and using a wide variety of mediums to reach prospective customers is a current industry trend. Giving them a reason to come into the store in question is yet another way to increase revenue.
After all, Amazon is only following the model that Sears started a century ago. The company began their industry by offering a selection of reasonably priced products that could be purchased by anyone, anywhere, with the expectation the goods would get to them within a reasonable length of time. Yet Sears is dying and Amazon continues to blaze on.
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