Of course the obvious answer is "well, that depends." As the intersection of economic feasibility and consumers' willingness to adopt new technology hit a tipping point, for retailers that had invested big bucks in the brick-and-mortar distribution of music, books and games, the answer changed rather dramatically. Today's retail apocalypse narrative is nonsense. But it wasn't so long… Continue reading Physical stores: Assets or liabilities?
Millard "Mickey" Drexler, the former CEO of J. Crew Group and Gap, is many things. Shy and retiring is not among them. To be sure, Drexler's had his ups and downs, his victories and defeats. But he's always interesting. In my only conversation with him (by phone when I was a responsible for strategy and… Continue reading The de-schlepping of retail
Some have called it the retail apocalypse. Others refer to it the great retail meltdown. And while hyperbole is the best thing ever, these pronouncements serve as better clickbait than sound analyses. Worse, it makes it sound like every retailer is struggling and that physical retail is doomed. Nevertheless, it's hard to ignore the dramatic rise… Continue reading Retail at the precipice
"Omni-channel" has been one of retail's favorite buzzwords for years now. At last week's excellent ShopTalk conference, several speakers challenged the relevance of omni-channel. This conversation is long overdue. The shift from a "multichannel" strategy--being active in multiple channels such as physical stores, catalogs and e-commerce--to omni-channel, suggested some form of profound change. It created… Continue reading Omni-channel is dead. Long live omni-channel
Given Amazon's staggering growth and willingness to lose money to grab market share it's easy to blame them for everything that is ailing "traditional" retail overall--and the department store sector in particular. In fact, with announcements last week from Macy's to Kohl's and Sears to JC Penney that could only charitably be called "disappointing" many… Continue reading Stop blaming Amazon for department store woes
As has become an annual tradition--and despite my nearly six month hiatus--I present my most popular blog posts from this year. I am the captain now A few inconvenient truths about e-commerce Sears: The one thing that could have saved them Quitting is underrated Umm, so why aren't your sales better? Pure play e-commerce's fantastic… Continue reading My top blog posts of 2016
You've probably heard quite a few retailers proclaim some version of "customers who shop across our multiple channels spend 2, 3, 4, even 6 times, that of our average customer." When I worked at Sears that is what we saw and that is what we said. Years later, when I headed up strategy and multichannel… Continue reading Umm, so then why aren’t your sales better?
It's easy to feel like e-commerce is eating the world. It's not. While there can be no question of e-commerce's continued growing importance and its often disruptive nature--particularly in categories like books and music--I'm both amused and amazed at the lack of perspective many in the industry often seem to have. So here are what… Continue reading A few inconvenient truths about e-commerce
In a "brick & mortar first" world, retailer's embraced the old adage: location, location, location. Once the site was determined, a lot of time and money went into the design of the store--with a particular emphasis on making it as strong a magnet for consumer traffic as budget and inspiration would allow. Then the visual… Continue reading Retail’s new front door
It's not that malls are dying. In fact, many malls are not only surviving, quite a few are thriving. Despite all the doomsayers, physical retail is not facing extinction. Not only are many retailers opening significant numbers of profitable locations, many of the most highly valued and rapidly growing pure-play online brands are opening brick &… Continue reading Retail’s great bifurcation