There is a lot of panic in the retail industry right now. People who have dedicated their careers to brick & mortar retail are questioning whether there's a future, and with the constant flow of headlines proclaiming the death of retail, it's no wonder they're nervous.
The real answer to the question of whether retail will survive is this: Yes for some and no for others.
There's no doubt that many retailers are going under, and more will probably follow. There are simply too many stores and malls right now in the United States (in particular), and the herd needs to be thinned. There is also too much of the same thing. I've been lamenting this for years - there is a serious lack of diversity in retail these days. So yes, downsizing is rampant right now and that may continue for awhile until the market sorts itself out.
But it's not just me saying this. There are plenty of people a lot smarter than me who say the same thing. Here are a few:
Stop the Funeral! Retail Isn’t Dead, You Just Might Not Recognize It
Make no mistake, the industry is in the middle of rapid and substantial change; change that was predicted well over a decade ago, as online retailers grew legs and became full-blown competitors. To survive, some retailers adapted measures several years ago and many of them are today’s success stories. However, those that did not, now find themselves trying to catch up on the expensive technology curve.
Is Brick-And-Mortar Obsolete?
So are declining sales at some of the nation’s leading retailers a sign that physical storefronts have run their course? No, says Ken Morris, principal, and Perry Kramer, vice president and practice lead at Boston Retail Partners. “[Brick-and-mortar] isn’t dead, it’s evolving,” says Kramer.
Why retail is not dead, say experts at Las Vegas gathering
RECon, considered the largest retail real estate gathering of its kind, attracted more than 37,000 mall owners, developers, retailers, and brokers, among others, from 58 countries for three days of networking and deal-making. The message this year was clear: Retail isn’t dying, but evolving, and those that fail to invest online are being pushed aside or off the cliff.
Brick And Mortar Retail Is Not Dead: Don't Believe The Critics
I believe, as many do, that the retail industry is evolving, but I don't believe that online only retailers will kill brick and mortar. Consumer preferences are clearly changing, and more customers prefer to shop online. However, certain questions arise. Is an online only model more competitive than doing both (omni-channel model), and can brick and mortar retailers become omni-channel retailers without losing competitiveness? The facts as they stand today lead me to believe that brick and mortar is here to stay, and online only retailers aren't.
Why The Retail Store Is Not Dead
The magnitude of disruption over the last decade is indisputable — as evidenced by ongoing rounds of store closures including several new rounds in 2017. Does the future of shopping belong to e-commerce? Actually, no. In fact, many retailers are heralding a new retail ecosystem.
Retail Is Not Dead, It's Evolving
As with all evolution, some retailers won't survive and new ones will emerge. A phrase that came from Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory: “Survival of the fittest.” Be different, be daring, be creative and not only will you survive, you'll have fun in today's world of retail evolution and achieve great success!
Retail Gets Physical: Why Brands are Turning to Brick-and-Mortar Stores
The story we hear is that the brick-and-mortar store is dead. At the same time that news outlets and pundits are saying RIP to the retail store, digital monoliths Amazon and Google are taking the plunge into offline retail. Last winter, Amazon opened its first bookstore in Seattle followed by more than 30 pop-ups throughout the country. The ecommerce leader has also disclosed plans to open permanent stores in Boston, San Diego, Chicago, and Portland. Google just launched its “Made by Google” pop-up store in New York to much fanfare and press. Meanwhile, other born-and-bred online retailers, like Warby Parker, Bonobos, Ministry of Supply, Birchbox, and Rent the Runway have taken the plunge with stores and showrooms.
Retail Is Not Dead: Storytelling Through the Physical Environment
Industry observers continue to sound the death knell for retail, citing increasing growth in online sales, the shuttering of many a bricks-and-mortar chain, and changing consumer shopping behaviors. They've got it all wrong, though: retail and online operations are not at all at odds with each other. In fact, the digital and physical spaces can and should augment each other.
The Death of Retail Is Greatly Exaggerated
Make no mistake, many large national chains face grim futures. But look beyond clothing chains and department stores and you’ll see a pretty healthy industry. What seems like a retail-pocalypse is really a shift in where and how consumers shop.
What does this mean for your career? It means one of the key traits you should be looking for in a new employer is innovation. Are they ahead of the curve or falling behind? Are they embracing technology or fighting against it? How do they stand out vs. their competitors?
Many brick & mortar retailers have a very healthy future ahead of them, including most of these. Getting in with the right company has never been more important.