How is traditional retail fairing, particularly in the face of the eTail explosion? Is there a future, who is struggling, and who is doing well…and what insights can be gained for both traditional retailers and ecommerce e-tailers, as we look ahead to the rest of 2018 – and beyond?
March 23, 2018, marked the start of what’s been called “the biggest, if saddest, Toys ‘R Us sale ever”. It’s the closing-down sale of a brand that has a special place in every kid’s heart, as it liquidates all its stores, roughly 700 of them in the US including Babies ‘R Us locations.
When it comes to e-commerce, there’s no doubt that Amazon is king – at least for now. They are so big, so influential, that what they do impacts the entire market. More than this, people follow Jeff Bezos’ company because they have continued to make successful moves into new areas, identifying new opportunities and new markets, and even creating some of these markets themselves.
There has been a lot of focus on what has been unfolding in the US retail sector recently, whether it’s been the decline of Sears or the dominance of Amazon. It’s not just Western companies looking east that’s grabbing headlines. Chinese retailer JD.com is eyeing expansion in Europe, and has Amazon’s dominance there firmly in its sights.
It’s been called “the biggest retail battle of our times”, and is being followed closely by consumers and the market alike. Amazon, leading in e-commerce by a long way, is aggressively expanding into physical, brick & mortar sites; and Walmart, for so long the low price kings of the physical store environment, is moving aggressively into the online space.
Amazon’s Black Friday sales hit a record high of $2.4B across its three major sites in the US, UK and Germany. The US market dominated, as could be expected, hitting $1.8bn in sales; at peak hour, which was 1pm EST, there were 2m transactions taking place.
“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.”
What if one of your competitors’ products was booming, and you didn’t even know about it? How about if some product is the hottest thing this season, and you don’t even stock it? What if you could gauge demand for any product and any category at any online store – and in real-time?
It’s the ultimate battle, a clash of titans, as two giants line up against each other to decide who takes the lion’s share of a trillion dollar market. Retail powerhouses Amazon and Walmart are poised to fight it out it over the $2 trillion groceries market – the online portion of which is estimated to be over $100bn by 2025.
Staying ahead of the competition in the hyper competitive e-commerce market means winning the customer experience battle, and making sure you do what it takes to get shoppers coming back to your site. To get to the top – and to stay there, you have to optimize the digital touchpoints your customers experience, and understand the full customer journey.