For anyone looking for an indication of how the global retail landscape has evolved over the last six months, the headlines paint a pretty dour picture. “No bonuses for most retail executives as sales slump” and “Retail bankruptcies soared by 110% this year!” are just two recent examples. Other disheartening statistics: more than 5,400 retail store closures have been announced this year so far, up 165 percent from 2016, according to Fung Global Retail & Technology, who forecast that there will be over 9400 announced closures by the end of the year (a year-over-year increase of 361%). Then there’s retail recruiting and organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry who noted that only 15 percent of retailers have met or beat their profit plans this year, while outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported that through June, retailers have announced more than 60,127 job cuts, up 42% from 2016. This is the highest first-half total since 2009. Ouch!
Traditional retailers are clearly facing an existential crisis, but the continued rise of Amazon demonstrates that there is money to be made when commerce becomes easy and efficient for the customer. Amazon’s statistics are the opposite of depressing. Its third Prime Day in July was the biggest sales day in the company’s history, growing 60 percent compared to same 30 hours last year. And when it comes to selling general merchandise online, Amazon dominates the field, accounting for56% of the traffic share of the top 10 most-visited sites from January to April 2017.
These statistics might be harsh for many traditional retailers, but they are hardly news. We’ve noted for years that attention is the new currency and that retailers need to work even harder to drive sales, value and engagement. Forward-thinking retailers know their customer engagement strategies need to evolve – they must innovate, or get left behind. The vast majority of sales now have a digital touchpoint, with in-store visits heavily influenced by online engagement. The modern consumer is always online and always connected: flowing across multiple channels, and controlling the relationship with brands. Today’s consumers shop on their own terms, and retailers are no longer competing only with other retailers, they are competing for mindshare with potentially every content provider on the web. This means they must adopt the latest technologies that can easily deliver millions of personalized experiences, continuously fresh content, and proactive streams of engagement that will capture consumers’ attention.
Retail’s traditional content production models are broken and cannot keep up with customer needs for instant gratification. Industrializing the content factory with platforms like Amplience will allow retailers to address these broken processes head on. Behind the closings, job cuts and bankruptcies is a story of evolution as the industry looks to technology to transform the industry . The retail tech innovations we’ve seen over the past few years will only continue in the future and will have an immense influence on the direction of the industry.Back to top
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