Retail was one of the biggest business topics of 2017 due to the drama of store closings, bankruptcies, and struggles of the once-mighty retail icons, and 2018 looks to be no different. For those in the industry the drama is a way of life, retail is always in a state of change—the merchandise, technology, formats, competitive landscape and ultimately the shopper are in constant flux. Retailers have always had to fend off attacks to their business like Wonder Woman deflects bullets. And for traditional retailers, the last 15 years have been the equivalent of an alien invasion—accelerating the pace of change.
Amazon and the so-called pure-play ecommerce retail invaders have grown disproportionately, stealing market share from physical retailers and forcing them to respond in kind. Investment in ecommerce strategies, omnichannel initiatives, and IT have taken precedence over investments in physical stores. Meanwhile, anxiety-provoking headlines persist as retailers close stores to bolster their balance sheets, and many chains are flirting with mergers and acquisitions, and experimenting with new partnerships to prepare for what’s next. This leads to one significant consequence—existing physical retail experiences are in a state of neglect!