Sitting in a warm office on the first day of metrological spring one could be forgiven if thoughts turned away from the snow storms and biting winds emanating from Siberia which presently batter the UK and towards warmer days ahead. A bit of snow and it's a bit nippy outside, but it's hardly the end of the world. It's not the Apocalypse.
Retailers, however, are suffering. Not because of the cold snap (although doubtless some will blame it for their latest sales disasters in coming weeks...) but instead, due to the exponential shift in their collective power to influence consumer demand and with it, spending. In line with an earlier posting I wrote a few days ago, CPG/FMCG Manufacturers are seeing an opportunity for resurgence with new channels to market and hence, if they can better understand how to leverage the data generated from these new channels, can re-gain some of the power lost to Retail partners back in the mid-1970's when the Barcode first came into widespread use. Couple this to the inexorable shift due to the mobile revolution in consumer power towards online shopping and the shopping public's demanding of an immersive customer experience wherever and whenever they choose to shop and things start to look bleak for 'traditional' Retail.
In the last few days of February the UK lost more household Retail names from the high street. The end of the world for them, but as the hash-tag #NotMyRetailApocalypse hints at not all Retailers are doomed to the same fate. Those savvy and strategic enough to embrace the Online to Offline (O2O) continuity of ensuring cohesive customer journeys across all the channels in which they are now forced to operate are reaping the rewards of technology investment. Such companies' Bricks and Mortar stores are being transformed and the latent insight into customer behaviour conjoined across all channels to create an invaluable picture of consumer trends.
Certain areas and certain Retailers may be in danger of facing their Apocalypse - but not all. Many have become highly sophisticated, data-centric, technology-driven businesses. And those that have yet to do so need to - quickly - or risk becoming the next names on the 10pm national news...
Does the migration of consumer traffic and sales to online "stores" constitute a pending retail apocalypse, or merely a shift in consumer demand and preference for more choices of retail anytime and everywhere?