The Continuing Reinvention of Retail

Good brick-and-mortar retail can no longer stand on display-and-pray. What I mean is, keep shelves stocked to the brim and hope for the best from customers. Those days are pretty much over. And the reinvention of retail is on.

So, no company can rely on high-volume foot traffic to keep their customers happy and their bottom line high.

This is the ongoing saga of the reinvention of retail. Chains that once could depend on foot traffic now must adjust their historic investment real estate. Thus, every big company is involved in the reinvention of retail, to one degree or the other.

WalMart’s Reinvention of Retail

WalMart’s historic investment in huge retail spaces made it a poster child for Big Box Retail.

Over the last two years, however, the company has responded to the eCommerce challenge with a concerted omnichannel strategy. It has built up its online catalog, made free-shipping offers easier, and streamlined its supplier purchasing process on the back-end.

Now, the company has acquired online retailer ModCloth, a specialist in “quirky apparel” for women in the 18-to-35 age bracket. According to Chain Store Age, ModCloth is Walmart’s fourth online acquisition since last September, along with, Shoebuy, and outdoor apparel retailer Moosejaw.

The move isn’t just to meet existing customers where they shop. The purchase of ModCloth, Moosejaw, and Shoebuy is also to give WalMart channels to more affluent customers than the high-volume discount customer base to which WalMart historically appealed.

Is the Omnichannel the Reinvention of Retail?

We see the reinvention of retail in other aspects. While big box stores recalibrate their brick-and-mortar presence and beef up their online offerings, pure-play eCommerce companies frequently adopt a brick-and-mortar channel after a few years in business.

These companies, including Amazon, are building on customer experience and meeting customer expectation. Apparel companies, for example, still need to give customers the chance to try on their products.

“Retail stores are not dead,” retail consultant Shelley E. Kohan told Chain Store Age. “The retailers who continue to embrace change in their business models will be well positioned for today and in the future.”

The same can be said for all companies looking to grow their business. However you started out, the way consumers shop (online, mobile, in-store) means you have to consider all your options.

This, in turn, requires the control to move your stock where it is in demand and to keep your costs under control.

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