With the amount of retail space continuing to shrink via store closures and bankruptcies, and consumers increasingly turning to their mobile devices to shop as they continue to demand immediacy and convenience, retailers and brands will need to be more creative, flexible and diversified in their approaches in 2017 and beyond.
Fung Global Retail & Tech thinks greater usage of “pop-up” or temporary stores to bring new, fresh products and ideas to consumers faster is one such idea. The research house in its “17 Retail Trends for 2017” also believes brands and retailers should consider borrowing a concept from the food industry and begin to operate “retail trucks” in traditional and non-traditional locations to drive sales and traffic. More e-commerce retailers, meanwhile, are projected to begin dabbling in brick-and-mortar this year to enhance profitability, increase brand awareness and enhance the overall shopping experience.
Meanwhile, after their numbers grew more than 300 percent between 1970 and 2016 to an estimated 1,221, U.S. malls are undergoing a metamorphic shift and consolidation. “B” malls are being repurposed as “A” malls and many “C” and “D” malls are being closed altogether. “A” malls are projected to survive, but it’s likely at least 30 percent of all malls, an estimated 350 and largely within the “C” and “D” classification, could be shuttered.
In the online world, Fung Global is forecasting competition among marketplaces, including Amazon, eBay, Etsy and Walmart, to intensify in the U.S. and Europe as the major players capture greater shares of consumers’ online spending and major retailers continue a push into the format. The benefits of the marketplace model, already popular in China and India, are numerous. Among them: high profitability as sites charge double-digit commissions for acting as the portal; fulfillment on behalf of sellers as an additional revenue stream and the model is “an asset-light way of entering new regional markets.”
Nonetheless, the marketplace format in the U.S. is far from a sure bet given consumers likely need to be re-assured that they are dealing directly with a given retailer in the areas of product authenticity, return policy and payment options.