About a decade ago, shopping was more than just an ongoing cyclical phenomenon of procuring and consuming constantly, it was in one way the sustenance that humanity thrived upon.
Every millennial in today’s times would remember their weekends holed up in a causeway, plaza or for the ones in Tier A – Shopping Malls, with their siblings and parents quenching their need of glitz with some whole hearty shopping backing up retails contribution of 1.7 trillion USD relishing a 6.7% slice of India’s GDP in 2009.
It was a way we all maintained our relationships. But it’s these very same millennials who are subjects of a great change now. The death of brick and mortar. “The Retail Apocalypse”. It’s real and according to data compiled by the advisory firm Cowen and Company, ‘’we’re still in its early innings”.
The Onset Of The Apocalypse In The US
Taking its roots in North America in late 2010, 4,038 physical stores of SEARS Holding ground to a halt in the United States and Canada with approximately 3,12,000 people saying goodbye to their paycheck at the cusp of 2011.
Since then, over 12,000 stores have shut their doors. Major department stores such as J. C. Penney, Macy’s, Sears, and Kmart have announced hundreds of store closures, and well-known apparel brands such as J. Crew are unprofitable.
Several retailers such as Toys “R” Us and The Bon-Ton have liquidated and closed all their stores in some or all countries of operation, as on Wikipedia.
The landscape of retail looks even grimmer as US Retail saw itself on the cusp of 2019. David.H.Montgomery of CityLabs stated that “It’s absolutely true that we’re seeing a heightened level of retail closures.
Even as of August, the U.S. had hit a 10-year high in retail square footage closed down—even higher than during the peak of the Great Recession”.
How India Fairs Against The Global Fallout
Though the world of retail and retail marketing has gone through tectonic changes, traditional retail in India strives to survive. In the year of the supposed death of brick and mortar, i.e, 2018, India Retailing hushed sceptics by stating, “as far as India is concerned, physical stores can never be replaced”.
They went to further state that,” while the Internet may have penetrated the heart of India, the hearts of Indians (and their trust) still lies with the physical retailer.
In fact, a recent AT Kearney study states that 95 per cent of all retail sales is captured by retailers with a brick-and-mortar presence while two-thirds of consumers who purchase online use the store before or after the transaction”.
In parts, Indian Retailing survives again, in parts. Segments of the industry have persevered while some have been left absolutely decimated.
Let’s take consumer electronics for an instance when was the last time you saw an outlet of Mobile Store? Big giants like Amazon and Flipkart have effectively, swept the ground underneath the feet, of electronic retail. Personalised Marketing and a lack of personalised marketing in retail have been major influencers in its demise.
Amalgamate and Resuscitate
Future Group’s CEO Kishore Biyani puts the fine print to the spotlight best when he talks about retail channel strategy. He feels all channels of sales will eventually converge. A sort of “one size doesn’t fit all strategy”.
Dawning in Omnichannel Marketing which is basically amalgamating digital and physical strategies, Biyani believes reaching customers with the right message at a platform of their convenience will be the recitation the Retail Industry needs.
The key difference, however, will be the focus. While Biyani’s ambition focuses on a physical experience carried forward with a digital strategy, Urban Ladder comes as a fine case when it comes to their Omnichannel Marketing Strategy.
In an interview with Fortune India, Urban Ladder said that it’s looking to open 20 stores by mid-2019, thus emphasising a digital focus with an offline connect for customers to binge on.
And with the final part of the strategy comes the biggest disruptors of all. Consumer Data and Technology. With the rise of Artificial Intelligence Marketing and Facebook Marketing In India retailers can now run targeted campaigns and market their products a lot more effectively using data analytics.
Companies and brands will understand where their consumers will be and target them specifically through the channels that they are consuming, making it an absolute component of Retention Marketing in India.
In conclusion, inspiration is drawn from a human’s instinct to survive. In the fierce battle against an apocalyptic event, the human might not only find a way to strive but thrive. The Retail Apocalypse comes forth as another challenger that tests the human spirit.