Three Hard Lessons the Internet Is Teaching Traditional Stores

Legacy retailers have to put their mountains of purchasing data to work to create the kind of personalization and automation shoppers are getting online

Many of the stores that once filled the malls of America have become “zombies,” while online retailers capture ever more of the most valuable consumers—the young and affluent.

Data is King

For brick-and-mortar retailers, purchasing data doesn’t just help them compete with online adversaries; it has also become an alternate revenue source when profit margins are razor thin. For example, Unilever might buy store sales data to figure out which products are in high demand and when people buy them.

.. Can physical retailers build intimate digital relationships with their customers—and use that data to update their stores—faster than online-first retailers can learn how to lease property, handle inventory and manage retail workers?

.. In the past, new brands had to persuade store buyers to dole out precious shelf space; now the brands can prove themselves online first.
.. Andy Katz-Mayfield, co-founder and co-chief executive of Harry’s, is skeptical that traditional retailers like Wal-Mart can make the leap, even if they invest heavily in technology.

Why Don’t All Jobs Matter?

Why does public discussion of job loss focus so intensely on mining and manufacturing, while virtually ignoring the big declines in some service sectors?

.. the decline of traditional retailers in the face of internet competition

.. Even as Mr. Trump was boasting about saving a few hundred jobs in manufacturing here and there, Macy’s announced plans to close 68 stores and lay off 10,000 workers.

.. Overall, department stores employ a third fewer people now than they did in 2001. That’s half a million traditional jobs gone — about eighteen times as many jobs as were lost in coal mining over the same period.

.. newspaper publishing, where employment has declined by 270,000, almost two-thirds of the work force, since 2000.

Sweaty January and how gyms make money

  • The retail shop has more people per square foot, doesn’t it, even in a snapshot?
  • Now here comes the real killer — the people in the gym are likely to be staying for at least an hour per visit, while the majority of the people in the shop will wander in, buy something and leave over a period of no more than twenty minutes. The footfall has to be measured on a per hour basis, and, on this basis, gymnasia are amazingly inefficient in terms of the usage of space.

But they are so inefficient in terms of generating the customer turnover that it’s really difficult to make the fixed cost economics work, because the amount you’d need to charge per ‘sale’ would end up being beyond the means of most of the users. Unless … unless you could push the purchases per visit much higher than 100 per cent, by having people paying for the gymnasium services while not actually using them. Hence, Sweaty January.

Dead Stock Strategies

“One of the best ways to move a substantial amount of dead stock is to bundle it with top-selling product,” says Bader.

Give sales reps a printout of all dead stock items. When making sales, they can try and sell customers dead stock items that complement the items they are purchasing in a bundle.