The world of retail, has forever changed. And it’s not going to change back.
At the same time, though, fundamental aspects of retail haven’t changed at all.
How to sort out the difference? This website, our book, blogs, speaking and consulting are all designed to help you dive further into the questions and challenges facing consumer businesses in our current e-commerce era.
What’s the Premise?
People are… people. They want convenience and no-hassle, frictionless shopping experiences when they spend their hard-earned money on the products they want. As they should.
But people also want community. To get out of their homes, spend time with friends and family, meet neighbors and new people. And actually, have a community to be a part of.
Knowing which aspects of e-commerce and brick & mortar retail people like and value, when and why, and for which types of shopping occasions, is the essence of Lionel’s “The Future of Omni-Channel Retail: Predictions in the Age of Amazon”.
Knowing the difference is how we can make the businesses of the present develop into the relevant and viable businesses of the future.
Knowing the difference is how real estate developers, urban planners and economic development agencies can plan viable futures for the audiences they serve.
Knowing the difference is how investors can fund the companies that will win the future.
The Future is Omni-Channel
So, what is the future of retail? Has the purpose of stores really ended? We say, ‘no’. But, and it’s an important ‘but’, the role of stores has forever changed. The historical purpose of a store, was to keep an appropriate selection of inventory as close at hand as possible. To literally ‘store’ products within a range of a population. A store was a ‘store-house’—a 3,000-year-old business system.
But as we’ve seen, the internet has rendered this purpose useless, at least for many types of Mundane products (read the book to learn more about Mundane, Artisan, Elite and Unique products). The abundance of information about products, pricing and reviews that the internet makes possible reduces the need for products to be local.
Therefore, brick & mortar retailers must ask themselves what job a consumer is “hiring” them to do in every situation.
- Are they there to offer discovery and experience for product options that consumers can later buy online?
- Are they there to provide fast, one-day, same-day or even two-hour shipping by having many local stores close to consumers?
- Are they there for consumers to shop and buy online and then pick up in the store?