Friday, January 23, 2015

Bricks and Mortar Transform to Data and the Internet

Today we look at the transformation that retail is under. We experience it every day of our modern lives.  Unfortunately there are those who do not make it. Target Canada announced last week that they planned to close their Canadian operations. They had significantly under-performed in Canada and as a result they are closing all of their stores. In addition Sony will be doing the same and other have like Mexx and others. 

Is the reason that these stores are closing due to the economy? Are they due to the miscalculation of what the Canadian consumer desired? Maybe. I look at it a different way. I believe that the way we consume today is different and as a result the bricks and mortar companies of today need to transform as well. You can look to the Internet to see what we need one needs to provide. You need to have an experience that bridges the online and offline experiences. Consider that Target opened over 100 new stores in Canada but yet they lacked an online website. It is not rocket science. Today I begin my shopping on the web and then decide if I will venture to a store to have a hands-on experience where I can now compare product to the others in the store or I purchase it online. When a company does not even have an eCommerce site I am already looking elsewhere. 

Our almost unlimited access to information means that the shopping experience must address the customer experience from both in-person and online. In a world where data is king and information is power companies and retailers specifically need to provide both experiences to truly embrace a customer. The information you can then gather about your customers and their habit allow companies to exceed the declining traditional business model. All retailer in today’s digital society must provide the service and use the information to drive business and drive value or the bell will ring for them just as it has for Target in Canada.

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