4 Retail Apocalypse Myths — Debunked

4 Retail Apocalypse Myths — Debunked

There’s no greater sign of the retail apocalypse than those sad images of defunct Blockbusters, abandoned Toys ‘R’ Us stores, and empty Sears shelves. (RIP millennials’ childhoods.)

While ecommerce is also increasing at a rapid rate, the truth is that the retail apocalypse is, well, not so apocalyptic. Because in-person retail isn’t ending. It’s just changing.

To prove it, here are four retail apocalypse myths – debunked.

Myth #1: Physical retail is dying!

Retail is actually thriving at the high and low ends of the market. According to research from Deloitte, over the last five years premium retailers have seen their revenues soar by 81%. And low-price retailers have opened more than 4,500 stores since 2015.

Take that, apocalypse!

Myth #2: There’s no future for brick-and-mortar stores.

While mid-market retailers have struggled to survive, popular direct-to-consumer brands and startups like Everlane, Frank and Oak, and Wayfair continue to expand into physical retail. Just look at Warby Parker, an ecommerce startup that launched in 2010 and now has nearly 40 stores, with plans for hundreds more.

Apple’s retail chief Angela Ahrendts also predicted that, in the next five years, “75% of the people will shop online … but 75% of the business will still be done in physical stores.”

Myth #3: Only small brands are opening shops.

Tell that to Amazon, one of the biggest retailers in the world, which has been experimenting with storefronts like bookstores and grocery stores. They even bought Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in 2017, making significant changes to the grocery chain in an effort to combine ecommerce and in-store shopping.

New store models like pop-ups and rentable shelf space are also providing opportunities for bigger companies to carve out a smaller and more cost-effective space in physical retail.

Myth #4: Retail stores are walled gardens of data.

Your favorite clothing store of the past may not have had augmented reality mirrors (OK, it definitely didn’t). But that doesn’t mean your clothing store of the future won’t.

In fact, that’s one of the biggest things preventing a full-blown retail apocalypse: The digitization of brick-and-mortar stores, or what Deloitte calls the “retail renaissance.” New technologies are enabling marketers to gather more data about their customers and deliver more valuable, connected experiences.

For example, retailers can provide in-store WiFi in exchange for a customer’s email address, which they can then use to send special offers and follow-ups that drive conversions. Interactive display screens can let customers scan items to learn more about pricing and styles. And retail apps can help customers store payment data for touchless transactions and receive push notifications about customized offers.

A more connected future for retail

See that? The retail apocalypse isn’t coming after all. So you can put away those Doomsday Retail calendars and start planning for the future of in-store shopping.

It’s a bright future too – one that provides unprecedented opportunities to collect customer data, build cross-platform buyer journeys, and reach consumers right when they’re about to make a purchase decision.

Could your old Blockbuster do that? (Sorry, too soon.)