Who: Laura Egeln, PhD, is a professor in the College of Business at Johnson & Wales University Charlotte, as well as an online faculty member.
Agree or Disagree with Article: Agree
Her Take: There are a lot of recent news reports about “retail dying,” which leaves many consumers wondering what will happen to the malls and strip centers they are accustomed to shopping at.
It is no secret that a lot of brick-and-mortar stores are struggling: Just walk in any mall in America and you will see once busy, vibrant stores that are now closed.
What is deceiving is that most people think of retail as just the big-box retailers that were so popular 30 years ago—but retail is so much more than that. Not only is retail the big-box stores, but it also includes all of the small stores that are regional, online shopping applications, outlets, and off-price stores such as TJMaxx. One would assume that since there is an increasing online presence in so many aspects of daily life that online retailing is taking over brick-and-mortar retail. There is some truth to the growth of online retail, but it is in no way taking over brick-and-mortar retail.
Consider the brand awareness of big-box retailers and national chains: Since they are well known, when one closes it seems to have a bigger impact. Actually, the financial impact to the retail segment isn’t nearly as large as the brand impact is when a national chain store closes.
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What is happening in the retail industry is a shift in consumer behavior and purchasing habits. The growth of the outlet and off-price segments have had a significant impact on the traditional mall, indicating that customers are more price sensitive than before.
All of this is retail, the biggest difference being where the customer purchases merchandise. In order for retailers to remain profitable, they will have to make sure to keep up with their customer and be able to provide them what they want, when they want it, where they want it, and for how much they are willing to pay.
Other industries have experienced similar changes, consider the grocery/food industry. Grocery stores didn’t go out of business because more restaurants opened and people ate out more. Instead the grocery stores were forced to better understand and deliver what their customer wanted. Grocery stores look very different now compared to 30 years ago. Companies, regardless of their products must stay focused on their customer and being able to meet their needs in order to remain successful.
Learn more about the online Fashion Merchandising & Retailing bachelor’s degree at Johnson & Wales University College of Online Education. For more information, complete the “Request Info” form on this page or call 855-JWU-1881.