A Retail Rebirth: How to Survive and Thrive in the Amazon Age

Read the latest Apparel Magazine article by Andrea Morgan-Vandome, CMO of Celect, on how ship-from-store fulfillment can address rising customer expectations and help retailers avoid markdowns and lost sales, decrease fulfillment costs, and increase full-price sales.

Apparel Magazine June 26, 2019 — The surge in recent store closures coupled with numerous doom-and-gloom reports have led many retail pundits to predict a day of reckoning for retail. Yet while some cry “apocalypse,” perhaps it’s an opportunity for something else entirely: a retail rebirth.

Stores are still an important part of the retail equation — when done right. Retailers with outdated mentalities and practices don’t stand a chance in today’s digital world. To survive, retailers need to not only change the customer experience, but also the role of the store itself.

Evolve or perish

This April, online shopping hit a new milestone. For the first time ever, the total market share of “non-store,” or online U.S. retail sales was higher than general merchandise sales. Not only is online shopping here to stay, but so too are the high expectations consumers hold for their retailers — especially when it comes to product availability and shipment times. An industry study shows that five years ago, consumers were willing to wait 5.5 days for free shipping. In late 2017, that number had dipped to 4.5 days on average. Fast-forward to 2019 and that number has plummeted, thanks in large part to ecommerce giant Amazon. The company’s recent move to make free, one-day shipping the new norm for Amazon Prime members has put immense pressure on retailers, forcing them to re-evaluate how they can meet shoppers’ ever-increasing delivery expectations without breaking the bank.

In an effort to remain relevant and competitive, many forward-looking retailers have chosen to lean into their brick-and-mortar stores and create a unified, extended fulfillment network to better meet shoppers’ expectations  something the online-only Amazon cannot do. While using stores to facilitate the supply chain “last mile” has the potential for significant margin impact, the approach also presents retailers with new challenges

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