On May 19th, The Toronto Star shared a Washington Post article that quickly (and understandably) caught our attention. “How the retail apocalypse unfolded” is an in-depth examination of how the retail landscape in the U.S. has transitioned from one of bricks and mortar domination to a much more ecommerce-friendly environment – so much so that bricks and mortar stores down south are feeling the pinch.
Furthermore, not only are they feeling the pinch, many have been forced out of the game. As the article notes, “Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, which long claimed immunity to disruption from web-based competitors, are at last giving up the fight. According to Business Insider, 2017 retail bankruptcies are already setting records.” The author states several examples, Amazon, eBay, and Apple among them, of ecommerce giants that have come to reign supreme on the retail stage, leading a continuous battle with many victories against those bricks and mortar companies who’ve yet to adapt to the disruption.
Interested? We know you are. Check out the article in full here: https://www.thestar.com/business/2017/05/19/how-the-retail-apocalypse-unfolded.html.
After reading, however, we noted a glaring deficiency – one that is undeniably relevant to those of us operating in Canada. The article looks exclusively at American retailers (understandable given that it is from the Washington Post). These stats contained within apply to American consumers. Canadian counterparts are absent from examination and discussion. While this information is important, we also know that evidence continues to show that consumer behaviour is not the same across the board.
We don’t deny the power of ecommerce; we would be ignorant to do so. However, assuming that the case of a bricks and mortar apocalypse in the U.S. mirrors the environment in Canada is not something we’re willing to do either. Yes, ecommerce in Canada is strong, but it has not yet, nor are there indications that it ever will, kill those bricks and mortar locations here at home.
What can we take from this? There are many challenges for bricks and mortar retailers in Canada attempting to compete with online retailers. The need to adapt is undeniable, but so too is the importance of recognizing that there are certain things that you can do to continue to compete. Fantastic customer service, a focus on brand recognition and customer retention, both online and offline, and keeping customers engaged are just a few items that should be at the top of the priority list.
At Storesupport, we can appreciate how difficult it is getting to compete with online retailers, but we have the tools that make it easier. Find out more by getting in touch with us today: 1-877-421-5081.