The days when everyone had to pile into the car to go shopping have been over for many years. Today’s modern retailer is running its business online where it can sell not just to one community, but to people all over the country and even the world. More and more, you’re seeing the old-school giants closing their brick-and-mortar locations and entering the online marketplace. Consider some traditional retailers that are giving up some of their physical storefronts to survive in the digital world.
Some of the biggest retail brands are mall icons like Nordstrom. This retail giant is taking two steps this year to bolster its dying sales. One, it’s swapping out large mall stores for some quaint community-based, boutique-like spaces called Nordstrom Local.
The small store allows shoppers to still enjoy that hands-on tactile experience of brick and mortar while serving as drop-off points to support the budding online market, as well. Nordstrom is also opening a few larger flagstaff stores but, again, these serve almost as catalogs for its online business.
Nordstrom’s senior vice president of customer experience states that the shoppers who visit their current Nordstrom Local in Los Angeles spend 2.5 times more and make up about 30 percent of online orders with local pickup in the area.
Macy’s is playing much the same game as Nordstrom. In 2018, this traditional luxury retailer saw a 28 percent growth in monthly order volume online. It is also closing down many of its brick-and-mortar locations.
In 2018, Macy’s shut down 12 stores and will close another four in 2019. Chief Financial Officer Paula Price points out it is also opening some stores in areas where brick-and-mortar shopping is still popular.
Even Walmart is starting to pare down its retail space as its online marketplace picks up steam. In 2019, Walmart has been shutting down locations all over the country — 18 to be exact. In 2016, it closed hundreds of stores, mostly small ones and Neighborhood Markets.
At the same time, Walmart has seen significant growth in e-commerce sales. A press release from the company in early 2019 said Walmart had a 43 percent jump in online sales in its last quarter. Year-to-year, it is averaging 40 percent growth.
The Ones That Are Not Making It
Not all brick-and-mortar stores are making online sales work for them, though. Sears, for example, has been desperately trying to find a way back for itself and its Kmart brand, but with little luck.
In one month, Sears closed 60 stores. It hasn’t fared much better online. From January to May of 2018, it saw online order volume drop by 25 percent.
Making The Hybrid Connection
For the most part, retailers are creating hybrid solutions that celebrate both the consumer who wants to shop in a store and the one who wants to buy online. Like Nordstrom, JCPenney is turning some locations into pickup sites for online buyers — who have to walk through the store and look at all the merchandise before they pick up their purchase, though. If they see something they like, they can order it online sometime right in the store.
Many online retailers like Amazon are opening small brick-and-mortar stores, too. ModCloth is another e-tailer that is offering the brick-and-mortar experience. It allows customers to order online then make an appointment to try the clothes on at a physical location called a fit shop.
This year, an estimated 7.7 billion people will go online to do their shopping. E-commerce is giving some traditional brick-and-mortar stores a way back into the hearts of modern consumers. All this means is that we rely more and more on the Internet every day, and our connections to the Internet are going to remain important.
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