The figures are staggering. This year alone the number of retail stores closing in the US is in the thousands. In the three and a half thousand to be exact and counting. That number does not reflect smaller family-owned operations and is comprised only from established brand names. Not necessarily the beginning of the end for brick and mortar locations but most certainly a time for introspect. Looking at the year ahead and getting serious about e-commerce is the only way the stats above are going to improve. That includes every industry from virtual reality and fashion apparel to groceries and pet products.
The ease of buying something online at a lower cost by just comparing prices has helped facilitate the rise of sites like Amazon and Alibaba. Add to this equation the costs associated with operating in the real world along with the market sentiment, nobody wants to pay full price anymore even if he can afford to. In major metropolitan areas, this is starting to become more obvious as people walk by empty storefronts also affected by property costs and the end of easy credit.
Physical locations still matter though, its just that they are going to have to adapt to this new reality. The sooner they realize this the better. It is not about just putting your product out there anymore but about creating stories. Potential buyers are looking for an experience. That means the excitement of just going shopping is fading and people seem to favor more a sense of community and interaction while having fun at the same time. Today a store has to be a social media store as well. There is going to be a transitional period toward this new reality until the market is able to find a new equilibrium. Your product has to look good on Instagram and have its own hashtag in order to be able to make an impression. Snapchat and Twitter are necessary in order to get attention. An indication of what retail has to become in order to evolve and become a viable business model again.