Shopping is a part of everyday life. Whether you are shopping for groceries, toiletries or the latest style in clothing. How we shop however, is forever changing.
Payless ShoeSource announced on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, that they have filed for bankruptcy and will immediately close 400 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. They are only one of many retail stores that are experiencing the backlash of decreased mall traffic, resulting from an increase in online shopping. Payless who has been around since 1956, could not cope with recent market changes. In the United States, consumers are increasingly shopping online and Payless could not make the change as quickly as their consumers did.
E-Commerce is killing traditional retail and forcing some giant retailers to shut down stores to cut costs and stay afloat. Aside from Payless, traditional retail chains such as Macy’s and Kohl’s have been negatively impacted by the growth in online shopping. Their revenues have stalled over the last decade, while online retailers have seen continuous revenue growth.
Of course, Amazon and eBay are e-retailers that continue to see massive profit increases. According to GuruFocus.com, “shoppers make 51% of their purchases online, compared to 48% in 2015 and 47% in 2014.” This trend is expected to continue, especially since online purchases are now simple to make on your smartphone, through social media, and on desktop and laptops. According to Pew Research, in December 2016, 8 in 10 Americans were active online shoppers, compared to 2000 when only 22% of Americans had made an online purchase.
With more people purchasing big ticket items online, will traditional retail become something from the past? Although large retail chains such as Macy’s have tried to embrace this change in consumer behavior, they have yet to achieve the level of success of Amazon and other major online retailers.
The ability to shop online while sitting on your couch, and have just about anything delivered to your doorstep has huge consumer appeal. Due to advances in online shopping interfaces, it seems like anything is possible when it comes to what consumers will buy online.
The traditional shopping mall isn’t the only place that could be hard-hit. The shopping crisis could soon be coming to American grocery stores.
Grocery shopping has traditionally been a weekly chore, but is shifting to more frequent, smaller trips. People are buying food in smaller quantities because they want fresh and meal-ready food. As weekly meal planning and buying are becoming a thing of the past, online meal delivery services like Home Chef Fresh Meal Kit, HelloFresh and Blue Apron are reaping the benefits. The popularity of the convenience of meal-kit services is attractive to consumers because it saves time planning and shopping for meals.
Although meal kit delivery services have not yet taken over traditional supermarkets, there are signs it could be in our near future. According to Business Insider, “companies that deliver meal kits directly to consumers are gaining traction in the UK, with spending on services like HelloFresh and Gousto growing by nearly 65% in the first half of 2016”. In the United States, Blue Apron has been valued at more than $2 billion. This growing phenomenon in meal kit delivery startups is also drawing more attention from investors.
Not only are meal-kit services becoming more popular, but guess what online retail giant is wanting to get their hands dirty in this business? Amazon! Amazon is hungry for getting fresh food added to their list of items that they carry online. According to Bloomberg, “There was a time when analysts felt consumers would never buy shoes online because they wanted to try them on.” We can now say that is not the case. So, the question is not whether consumers will grocery shop online, but rather how soon this will be the new normal, and what will the effect be on grocery stores in the long run.
If you are a (retail) company, you should be working hard to adjust to this rapidly growing trend. Conquering both the brick and mortar, and the online worlds are essential for survival in the new economy of online convenience. In 2017, retailers will need to restructure their e-commerce websites if they want to survive. This means that retail companies need their site to be functioning properly and also present a good customer digital experience. In order to be successful during this transition, investing in digital marketing and UX (user experience) will keep your company on track, as well as keep you ahead of the competition.