The Changing World of Retail
Is technology changing how we make purchases, where we make them, or both? If traditional retail is supposedly dying, why do online Amazon sales spike in neighborhoods with physical locations?
Earlier this month, Lord and Taylor’s iconic flagship store on Fifth Avenue officially ended its reign as a retail palace. Faced with $1B in debt, Hudson’s Bay Company, the department store’s parent organization sold off the property. The new owners? WeWork.
It’s an all-too-familiar tale, one that many devotees of traditional brick-and-mortar retail would tell as a tragedy: unable—or unwilling—to adapt, legacy stores are forced to cut back their operations. The death knell of traditional retail is upon us.
Simultaneously, online retailers keep growing. Ironically, many are strategically pivoting toward traditional brick-and-mortar retail: Amazon continues to open physical locations, the pop-up shop has become a favorite tool of eCommerce darlings like Casper, and Glossier has disrupted the luxe beauty industry with its minimalist, highly curated in-store experiences.
It’s an alluring talking point: faced with increased pressure from leaner, more agile online retailers, legacy stores just can’t compete—especially when it comes to attracting millennials and Gen Z customers.
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