The physical retail marketplace continually changes due to its susceptibility to multiple variables such as consumer preferences and the automation movement. The initial emerging narrative spelled doom for legacy physical retailers and constructed a future in which e-commerce dominates the retail marketplace. However, new studies and data suggests retailers who have learned to adapt to market trends will persist as consumers find a middle ground between e-commerce and physical retail options.
Against the common narrative, more retail stores are opening than closing according to a study conducted by IHL Group. The type of stores experiencing closures provide an explanation for the direction in which the market is headed. Radio Shack's bankruptcy and fashion retailers account for a large percentage of the closures.
Many legacy retailers could afford to remain out of touch with their customers before the rise of the internet and prevalence of e-commerce. Consumers now use e-commerce, especially m-commerce options, as research tools to supplement their shopping experience. Such shifts in consumer expectations increased the rate at which certain retailers declined, yielding the retail apocalypse narrative.
"The mediocre brands that were protected by scarcity of information, distribution and access are getting blown apart as the customer can now get the same product anytime, anywhere, anyway -- and often for less money." -Steve Dennis, Forbes, 2017
Legacy retailers have had difficulty changing as compared to newer businesses who have leeway to build their business model structured around trends and shifts within the market. E-commerce and the influence of the internet within business is far from a trend as consumers have become accustomed to unlimited information and price comparisons that e-commerce offer. But the majority of retail sales, roughly 80 percent by 2025, will continue to be done in-store according to Forbes.
Businesses have begun to develop an omni channel shopping experience to tap into new trends and the presence of e-commerce. An increasing number of retail sales are influenced by digital avenues,over $2 trillion according to Forbes. For some retailers, this meant re-opening, re-investing or completely revamping their catalog experience. Business such as Patagonia underwent a more journal-styled catalog whereas Restoration Hardware focused on a refined aesthetic.
Dirxion online catalogs have successfully combined the aesthetic and familiar feel of a print catalog with the connectivity and versatility of the e-commerce experience. Dirxion offers custom features such as minimal UI and embedding within an existing domain to create a seamless transition from website to digital publication. And because these online catalogs live within a website URL that is accessible anywhere with an Internet connection, shipping costs are essentially eliminated. Most decisions are a matter of how and when to send an e-mail blast or promote the material on social media sites — an opportunity cost, but not heavy expense.