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“Sears is dead”. Such is the impression of retail bloggers such as Retail Archaeology, who have chronicled the fall of the legendary retailer. Business Insider predicts that “failure is a near certainty, according to industry watchers. Analysts are expecting Sears to file for bankruptcy within the next two years, and perhaps much sooner.”
The trend appears to be clear. Brian Solis notes that in just the first quarter of 2017 alone, brick-and-mortar retailers Sears, Macy’s, JCPenney, along with 16 additional major retailers, were estimated to close a combined 3,507 stores.
Sears’ stock makes for grim reading, trading at over $60 a share four years ago, and down to the current $4 mark.
Who’s Moving Into The Space?
It’s clear that a large reason for this decline of once great retail names, is the competition from the likes of Amazon, eBay and AliExpress.
Some might find other reasons; Laura Alber, CEO of Williams-Sonoma, claims that “I certainly don’t think we’re in the midst of a retail apocalypse. I do not believe that Amazon is killing retailers. I believe retailers’ bad service is killing retailers.” This kind of denial rings hollow however, given the massive reach that e-commerce retailers have, and their daily impact on most people’s lives.
Is there more to this trend that meets the eye?
Solis describes 3 distinct phases for e-commerce businesses over the last 20 years. The first phase consisted of upstart e-commerce businesses taking on traditional brick-and-mortar companies. The second phase consisted of modern commerce brands “carving niches” into e-commerce, while pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in terms of traditional retailing.
Now in this third phase, there is a combination of the earlier 2 approaches; a mix of physical space and online shopping, that merges “intelligent technologies, hyper-personalization, and seamless cross-channel engagement” at precisely the right moment.
This new approach is heavily reliant on large amounts of very specific data and on key, real-time insights to promote on-the-go decision making.
Ensure You’re On The Right Side Of The Trend
This new data-and insight-driven, experiential and personalized approach is ushering a new dawn for retailers; including the traditional brick-and-mortar giants, modern brands, and e-commerce experts like Amazon.
Key to success is leveraging the technologies that make this all possible – being able to gain actionable insights from large amounts of data, being able to do this in real-time, and offering the hyper-personalization that consumers have come to expect by understanding what’s happening down to actual product level.
Solutions like these are offered by Market Beyond to give retailers and brands unprecedented and almost unfair advantages in this “Retail 3.0” environment.
It might be too late for Sears, but with the right tools, companies and brands will be able to attract and serve not just new shoppers, but new fans.