Let’s get physical to combat digital

Let’s get physical to combat digital

Retail – Workplace September 2018

Smarter solutions

New Zealand’s retail landscape continues to reinvent itself, taking cues from international trends and influences with e-commerce playing a formidable role.

A major international retail property trade show, MAPIC, will be held in France later this year and theme is “Physical in the Age of Digital”,

Amid global talk and evidence of overcapacity problems, ghost malls and well-known retail brands filing for bankruptcy in some key markets – largely at the hands of online shopping – the MAPIC trade show aims to bring together leading commentators and retail experts to identify the new retail mix and stimulate new business models.

The show attracts over 2,100 retailers, 2,500 property developers, 1,000 investors and up to 10,000 participants from 80 countries, with major players in the retail sector converging on Cannes for three days of industry insights.

More than 100 speakers will take to the stage to discuss things like the online-offline convergence, the emergence of new physical space demands, innovation as a key driver to embrace retail transformation and magnifying the customer experience.

The president of Amazon France Logistics, Ronan Bole, will be the keynote speaker on the subject, “All you need is logistics!”

The words of Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos – American technology entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist and the founder, chairman, and CEO of Amazon – may well be ringing in the ears of the delegates.

Bezos was quoted in Vanity Fair magazine last year saying that to survive in business: "You have to always be leaning into the future. If you're leaning away from the future, the future is gonna win, every time."

In a recent article for the New York Times, Joel Bines and David Bassuk of global consulting firm Alix Partners highlighted the impact of Amazon – which collected more than 40 cents of every dollar spent online last year.

However, they called for some perspective when considering that figure, claiming that physical retail is far from dead.

A U.S. Census Bureau report released early this year, says 8.9% of retail sales in the United States last year were made online – including through Amazon. That means 91.1% of the trillions that consumers spent in the U.S. retail sector, were transacted through brick-and-mortar locations.

“Emotional engagement” is the buzz phrase for consumers, and retailers need to re-evaluate their physical operations in order to effectively compete with the online world.

What could you do differently to make your physical retail store and your business model more resilient in the face of online retail temptation?

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