Wake Up and Smell the eCommerce: Online Retail Influence Growing

NarwahlA recent post by my colleague Scott Regan brings recent store closings to attention. This should come as no surprise to anyone that’s been watching the trends (in fact, I wrote about this a while back and it’s something Scott and I have discussed frequently). Brick-and-mortar retail has been declining in certain sectors for the past few years. To be fair, other physical retail sectors are experiencing some growth — but how interesting is it that some of those sectors include retailers that started out as “online only” and are know expanding into the physical retail world? Yes, online retail influence growing at a quick pace and will continue. Warby Parker, anyone?

 

I expect this trend of closings to continue through 2015 and 2016. In particular, here’s what I think we’ll see:

  • Additional retailers similar to Wet Seal, that totally missed the online bandwagon, will become as rare as a narwhal sighting.
  • Mega-successful online retailers will experiment with physical store locations. To succeed they will integrate the most effective parts of the online experience into their brick-and-mortar experience.  A recent story about a retailer installing “magic mirrors” is a great example of things that were accomplished online first that are now being moved in the in-person retail environment.
  • Behemoth brick-and-mortar retailers will continue to invest in eCommerce at a staggering pace.  Many companies with large investments in brick-and-mortar are at a disadvantage to those that have only to invest in the online world.  Don’t mistake me, though. Disadvantages aside, some of these companies have tremendous cash reserves and they can play catch-up better than some pure online plays can expand.

It’s going to be an interesting year or two in the commerce world, there’s no doubt. What do you think will happen? Have your say by leaving a comment below!

 

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